Economic Boom Leaves Myanmar Vulnerable to Environmental Abuses

Conservationists warn that a development boom in Myanmar resulting from a recent opening-up of the country could trigger rampant environmental destruction. Harboring some of Asia’s richest biodiversity, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is embracing increased economic development following government reforms that have loosened military control in the impoverished nation. But environmental advocates say government corruption and a lack of strict environmental rules leave the Asian nation ripe for environmental exploitation. In recent months, international business interests have flocked to the country, targeting lucrative opportunities in land development, mining, and rubber and oil plantations. “The ‘development invasion’ will speed up environmental destruction and is also likely to lead to more human rights abuses,” Pianporn Deetes of the International Rivers Network told the Associated Press. “Industries will move very vast, while civil society is just beginning to learn about the impacts.”