Chin State residents are calling for a law to protect rhododendron trees, the state plant and flower, from being chopped down or set on fire.
A Chin resident said: “When we think of Chin State we see the flowers of the rhododendron trees, but now people are not looking after the trees and they are even destroying them. The most serious problems are where the Mintat to Matupi road is being constructed. People are randomly chopping down and using them to boil tar along the road.”
U Htan Hlam, a conservationist, said: “Producing Rhododendron wine should also be prohibited, in our grandfather’s time there was no production of Rhododendron wine. When people produce Rhododendron wine, they need to pick the flowers at the time that bees, hornets and butterflies should be collecting the nectar from the flowers. This will cause them problems and could deteriorate the ecosystem, so cutting down the rhododendron trees should be banned.”
The Green Kennedy Mountain Group (Kennedy Mountain is the second highest peak in Chin State.) is also campaigning to preserve the rhododendron trees and has erected signs saying things like: “Let maintain the state’s beauty Cherry and Rhododendron” and “Don’t destroy my beauty”.
Rhododendron Trees can be seen flowering on the side of roads in Chin State in the months of December and January.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI