3.3.2 Surface water

Myanmar’s rivers and lakes are polluted and unfit for drinking, and sometimes unfit for swimming and fishing too. Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the main type of contamination in these freshwater sources, due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff together with domestic and industrial waste discharges (NRDC, 2018).

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Figure 3 Rubbish dumped by a river

Whilst work to provide safe drinking water and sanitation started in 1952 in Myanmar, access is still largely limited to the cities. Urban water supply, including for industrial use, is implemented by city development committees (CDC), notably in Yangon (YCDC). Mandalay (MCDC) and Nyaphidaw (NCDC). Municipal and industrial waste discharges contribute a growing share of toxins to surface water.

3.3.3 Ocean water