Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Official seize more than 1,000 tonnes of illegal wood across Myanmar

More than a thousand tonnes of teak, hardwood and other timbers were seized during a week-long search across States and Regions of Myanmar, including Naypyitaw and the majority from Sagaing Region, according to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF).

Among the illegal wood products confiscated between April 29 and May 4, two pieces of ivory and 34 viss of pangolin from Sagaing Region were also discovered.

The seizure included 105 tonnes of illegal teak, 637 tonnes of hardwood and 335 tonnnes of other timber (1,078 tonnes in total), while 10 engines, eight circular saws, four motor boats, 49 vehicles and 101 culprits were arrested.

“After a nationwide ban on the export of raw timber, it now travels to Techilek [a border town]. Since it cannot be exported overseas, they now carry it to the border where smuggling is possible. Therefore, wood smuggling is getting worse,” said U Ohn, chairman of the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA).

According to officials, 9 tonnes of illegal wood came from Kachin State, 4 tonnes from Chin State, 410 tonnes from Sagaing Region, 147 tonnes from Taninthayi Region, 50 tonnes from Magwe Region and 88 tonnes from Mandalay Region.

In addition, 19 tonnes of illegal timber came from Naypyitaw council estate, 12 tonnes from Mon State, 2 tonnes from Rakhine State, 4 tonnes from Yangon Region, 192 tonnes from Shan State and 109 tonnes from Ayeyawady Region.

Illegal wood exports in the country from 2001 to 2013 totalled about 16.5 million cubic metres, with a trade value of about US$ 5.7 billion, according to a ‘data corruption’ report from the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA).

The statistics from MOECAF show that Myanmar exported only 28 per cent of international timber, which means that the remaining 72 per cent of was done illegally.

source: Eleven Myanmar
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