21 June 2020 - Source: CTN News

"We have never seen water color changes like this before. This is the first time I have ever seen the water red. We don't know what China has done!"

Environmentalist have raised alarms in Myanmar after the water of the Shweli River separating China and the Shan State has turned red. Environmentalists and locals are worried about the level of pollution in the river.

Locals in the border town of Muse suspect that the changing color is due to factory waste from China. Being dumped in the river illegally by Factories in China.

"I think a factory in China dumped polluted water into the river. We have already sent an opposition letter to China's external affairs department in Shweli (Ruili) city in Yunnan Province," state parliamentarian for Muse's Constituency 2 Sai Kyaw Thein told Shan News.

"We continue to investigate why the water's color has turned to red," he added. Locals first noticed the change on June 10th. "We already sent a water sample from the Shweli River to a laboratory in Mandalay," Sai Kyaw Thein said.

China Factories Blamed for Red River

There are many factories located on the upper part of Shweli River in China. Including those processing sugar, making paper, canning fish and meat. There are also a number of dams, and substantial deforestation along the river.

"We have never seen water color changes like this before. This is the first time I have ever seen the water red. I don't know what China has done!" Sai Aye, who lives in Taw Ywad ward on the banks of the river in Muse, said.

People in nearby Namkham Township say they are also worried about the implications of the rivers pollution.

"I think we need to investigate why the river has turned red. It may impact people who are working near the river," a Namkham local said.

People in Muse have demanded that the government investigate and resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Shweli River is a river in Myanmar also known as Nam Mao in Shan. Furthermore the river forms part of the boundary between Burma and China. It is one of the tributaries of the country's chief river, the Ayeyarwady. The Shweli River arises in Yunnan Province of China and flows through northern Shan state.