A mangrove swamp in Nga Pyi Kyun village. (Photo_ DMG)

Su Mon | DMG
13 February, Sittwe
Residents have lodged a complaint with police and local administrators alleging that a prawn farmer was wantonly cutting down and selling mangrove trees near Thayet Taw village, part of Arakan State’s Pauktaw Township.

U Maung Thein was leased a prawn farm owned by U Saw Tun Aung of Sittwe, along the west bank of Nga Pyi Island, but U Maung Thein cut down some 12 acres of mangrove forest adjacent to the prawn farm, residents claim.

There are three villages on Nga Pyi Island with a combined population of more than 3,400 people. Villagers say the mangroves along its coasts offer the island essential protection from natural disasters.

“Thayet Taw village is located on the lower land, so villagers are worried about natural disasters because strong winds can affect the village any time, [for example] whenever a storm is occurring in the Bay of Bengal,” said U Maung Than Nyunt, a village elder.

Villagers reported the case to the township forestry department, residents said.

U Saw Tun Aung, the owner of the prawn farm, said: “The trees were not cut as much they said. Some old trees were cut in the swamp to improve the area.”

DMG phoned U Maung Thein, who is the individual named in the complaint filed, but he could not be reached for comment.

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