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Six villages, one question – how to dispose of waste?


Our staff is working with local communities in Myanmar to develop a sustainable management system

Improvised landfills built without any criteria of environmental sustainability, canals and gullies full of garbage, the smell of burning plastic in the cities, garbage piled up on the villages’ edges and on the beaches. As in many other areas of South East Asia, also in Myanmar waste is a serious social and environmental problem.

 

For two weeks our staff, in collaboration with the local association Thant Myanmar, worked in six villages in the district of Kawthaung (Tanintharyi Region, South of Myanmar) to raise awareness on the impact plastic has on the environment and on the importance to reduce the amount of waste. Furthermore, through a participatory approach, we developed a management system suited to the needs of each individual community.

 

We decided to tackle the problem by working on two fronts. On the one hand, we assist villagers at the community level to set up their first waste management system. In each village, we will place compost bins made with disused fishing nets and a high-performance small-scale incinerator will be built. In these remote rural areas, with connections to broken or absent landfills, currently burning waste is the only solution but by improving combustion efficiency, toxic substances released into the air will be reduced. On the other hand, our operators will continue promoting awareness-raising campaigns and workshops on waste reduction, to encourage villagers not to use disposable plastic and find sustainable alternative solutions.

 

Our field officers commented: «The communities we met are involved and very motivated to solve the problem of waste that floods their villages. The village leaders have welcomed us and are working because the necessary change starts from their own communities».

 

The initiative is part of the STAR project, funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency.

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