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Episodes 2024; 47(2): 391-403

Published online June 1, 2024


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Groundwater contamination by arsenic in Myanmar and their sustainability: a review

Naing Aung Khant, Heejung Kim*, Jinah Moon, Regina Martha Lumongsod

Department of Geology, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea

Correspondence to:*E-mail: hydroqueen@kangwon.ac.kr

Received: January 15, 2024; Revised: May 7, 2024; Accepted: May 7, 2024

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arsenic (As) contamination in the groundwater is a global issue, and its adverse effects on human life and the environment have been widely described, especially in Asian countries. Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country, with an annual groundwater resource potential of 495 km3. A higher amount of As contamination (> 50 μm) has been reported in the Ayeyarwady region. Together with As, other toxic metals and substances, such as F, Fe, Mn, and saline water intrusions have been observed to contaminate groundwater in Myanmar. Evidence and verification of health-related assessment problems still need to be carried out. The most widely used As-removal technique in Myanmar is the gravel–sand filter method. Many drinking water tube wells and dug wells in Myanmar have been tested for As contamination, but As-removal methods need improvement. No law for the regulation and management of groundwater resources has yet been implemented in the country; thus, the groundwater abstraction process is disorganized. Here, we review the assessment of the As contamination process in Myanmar, their source, and their sustainability. A protection, security, and management of groundwater in Myanmar can be sustainably improved by increasing awareness with the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international sources.