Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2018

Water & Wastewater Asia • November / December 2018 32 | FROM THE GROUND Heading Nowhere The story of an unlikely collaboration formed to help improve Myanmar’s environment, and the man in the centre of it all “B efore we began this project, we were heading nowhere,” said Sai Korn Lian with a strained smile. It is a pattern that is often seen in history: The industrialisation of a country which leads to rapid economic growth, but with the consequence of leaving the environment devastated. But in this Information Age, there is an onus to know and to be pro-active rather than reactive: To share. One of the countries that is best-equipped to do this is Japan, though having experienced what irreparable damages lax environmental regulations can lead to during its period of rapid industrialisation in the 1960s. However, this case features Myanmar’s traditional textile industry, centered in the heart of Myanmar, Wundwin, a place that is not exactly a policy priority when compared with the larger cities such as Yangon. For about 60 years, the area has been the primary There are more than 600 factories using a dyeing process in Wundwin, and a lack of awareness and oversight has led to decades of wastewater being discharged from the factory into the surrounding rivers producing hub of the longyi, a traditional Burmese garment that is routinely dyed in various colors, more often than not, black. There are more than 600 factories using a dyeing process in Wundwin, and a lack of awareness and oversight has led to decades of wastewater being discharged from the factory into the surrounding rivers. One of themain figures in realising the project to end this pattern of pollution was Sai Korn Lian, a member of HORIBA’s global business promotion team from Myanmar. Being directly involved in the on-the-ground implementation of the project, he was part of a unique collaboration: Receiving funding and support fromJapan’sMinistry of Environment, the project was coordinated with Myanmar’s counterpart, the Environmental Conservation Department (ECD). The technology to analyse the scale of the pollution would be provided by HORIBA, while the treatment process would be provided by HITACHI ZOSEN. “People inWundwin have been used to seeing black and polluted water since they were kids and it is not abnormal for them,” said Sai, reminiscing back to the project’s onset. To To tackle pollution that had been going for this long, the first step was to assess the situation – one of the main responsibilities of HORIBA

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