Myanmar’s electricity woes fueling mangrove deforestation in Arakan State

Deforestation of mangroves has increased in Arakan State as a result of power cuts, according to local mangrove conservationists.

Since late last year, Myanmar has experienced frequent blackouts, which worsened in February and continued into the monsoon season despite the fact that hydropower is the country’s primary source of electricity.

The power outages have forced locals in rural parts of Arakan State to increasingly cut down firewood for cooking purposes, resulting in rampant mangrove deforestation. Some 75 percent of mangroves have been deforested across Arakan State’s Ramree, Kyaukphyu, Taungup, Ann and Myebon townships, say conservationists.

“Mangrove deforestation has significantly increased since the coup,” said mangrove conservationist Ko Myo Lwin, referring to the military’s February 2021 putsch. “Mangroves have been deforested as a result of electricity shortages. In Ann, some mangrove forests have been almost wiped out.”

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Development Media Group