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A mountain of rubbish to climb in Yangon’s alleys

Photo Cleaning Yangon is an endless task for the YCDC as more rubbish is generated than workers can collect. Aung Myin Ye Zaw/The Myanmar Times

​10 Dec 18 - Source: Myanmar Times - The clearing of rubbish from alleys in Yangon resumed again last week in the townships of Kyeemyindaing and Tamwe following a temporary suspension of the work due to the monsoon season, says the Yangon City Development Committee's Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing.

"Residents living on higher floors throw even used sanitary pads into alleys. There have been incidents where these things sometimes fall on people here," said U Myint Thein, a Kyeemyindaing resident.

"The clearing of rubbish had been done in Kyeemyindaing Township before monsoon. Now, we're restarting on the other parts of the township and doing the same in Tamwe," said U Zaw Win Naing, deputy head of the Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing. 

YCDC workers cleaning alleys in Yangon. Aung Khant/The Myanmar Times

 The YCDC is considering taking action against people who litter under new laws that came into force earlier this year in June.

"It is very ugly that back alleys are being used by some people as their rubbish dumps," said Kyeemyindaing Township constituency No. 1 Regional Hluttaw MP U Kyaw Nanda Aung.

YCDC workers cleaning alleys in Yangon. Aung Khant/The Myanmar Times

"Some people in my Township throw rubbish at the back of buildings and only when the waste heap becomes enormous, do ward administrator tell us to call YCDC to clear it. People need to understand more about waste disposal. We need to educate people and then the disciplinary action will follow. Currently, people are educated to cooperate and not to dispose waste in an undisciplined manner," said U Kyaw Nanda Aung.

Before the cleaning was suspended for the monsoon season, more than 1,300 tonnes of waste from 627 alleys was cleared. 

Workers cleaning drains in alleys. Phoe Wa/The Myanmar Times

"Even after we cleared the areas, some people are still disposing of waste behind buildings in an undisciplined manner," said U Zaw Win Naing.

"According to the YCDC's regulations, waste must be disposed in bins, rubbish pools and designated areas. Back areas of buildings are not places for waste disposal," he said.

On August 15, 2016, the Pollution Control and Cleansing Department formulated a plan to address the problem of waste in alleyways. 

Township Hluttaw MPs, the YCDC's

General Administration Department, township municipal authorities, and the Engineering Department participated in cleaning activities by forming combined teams that includied ward administrators, township elders and town representatives.

The cleaning of alleys has been carried out in western and southern districts since 2016 under the plan.

The landfill in Htein Pin. Phoe Wa/The Myanmar Times

No specific funding has been allocated for the effort and it is being done under the regular budget of the Pollution Control and Cleansing Department.

Over the last 10 years, the amount of rubbish generated in Yangon has almost doubled to 2387 tonnes per day,roughly 0.6 kilogrammes per person per day, according to the Pollution Control and Cleansing Department.

YCDC says it has the capacity to collect 2057 tonnes of rubbish per day at present, which means some 300 tonnes of rubbish goes uncollected daily. 

Civil society organisations are helping to tackle the issue. Nayn Zay Htet/The Myanmar Times

The highest volume of daily rubbish in Yangon comes from kitchen-related waste which makes up 61.9 percent of the daily total. Waste from businesses makes up 35pc, hospital and clinic-related waste is 0.1pc, and other types of waste 3pc.

The rubbish from Yangon is being disposed of in two locations – Dawei Chaung dumpsite in North Dagon Township and Htein Pin dumpsite in Hlaing Thar Yar Township.

The Htein Pin dumpsite now covers roughly 60 hectares although only 38 hectares is designated a landfill. The Dawei Chaung site has 40 hectares designated as a landfill. The Htein Pin landfill receives 1288 tonnes of rubbish daily, while 1070 tonnes is sent to Dawei Chaung. 


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