18 December 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times

Myanmar's second-largest city is struggling to dispose of its waste properly amid growing fast-growing businesses and an increasing population.

Due to the rapid increase of daily waste, the city with a population of over 1.2 million, will upgrade the garbage pits and adopt waste shredding and disposal system as part of upgrading its solid waste management programme, according to Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC).

The municipal officials who studied the expansion of garbage pit areas, recycling of wastes, paving of firebreaks and concrete roads in international countries will take the lead in the upgrading of the system.

"When the areas of garbage pits are expanded, it can facilitate the entry and exit of the garbage trucks," said U Kyaw Zaw Aung, member of MCDC. "We are currently expanding the Kyar Ni Kan garbage pit to 30 acres from 17 acres."

"We will set up the garbage sorter (machine) and waste crusher and shredder to crush and dispose of non-recycled materials," he added. "Such measures can prevent the danger of fire. Currently, we make basic preparations Taung Inn-Myauk Inn and Kyar Ni Kan garbage pits to install these machines."

Also, the city has installed a weighing system for garbage trucks, as well as a GPS system to monitor the movement of the garbage trucks in real-time, among others.

But solid waste management is just one part of the problem putting pressure on Mandalay's waste management.

U Maung Maung Oo, from the non-government group Natural Green Alliance, said the Mandalay City Development Committee has not yet established regulations regarding the dumping of wastewater in the river in Amarapura township. Worse, authorities seemed no strategy to stop these harmful actions.

He noted that wastewater from the Mandalay Industrial Zone drains into the Dokhtawaddy River, and so is the bilge from a nearby slaughterhouse.

Moreover, people are cleaning alcohol bottles and containers in the river, which could harm the marine ecosystem in the waterway.

U Maung Maung Oo warned these actions to damage water resources and will eventually deprive communities depending on the river for their livelihood.

"It is not hard to resolve this problem, especially since most of those disposing wastewater on the river are private companies," he said.

He warned that as long as the MCDC does not come up with the proper guidelines on wastewater disposal from the industrial zone, the problem will fester.

"We can't throw everything down the river. There is life in the river and along the river," U Maung Maung Oo said. "A metal refinery disposing of wastewater into the river stopped doing so after we voice our objection to its action."

Environmental experts pointed out Mandalay is using 90 per cent of its underground water resources and in the future, the city needs to reduce its dependency on groundwater.

The city has Ayeyarwady and Dokhtawaddy rivers where it can get water resources and a river water pumping project is being implemented at Pyigyitagun township. - Translated