Baskets woven from plastic strips are becoming increasingly popular in northern Myanmar as rattan and bamboo, the raw material traditionally used for basket weaving, has grown scarce because of deforestation.
Hand-woven basket makers have turned to the imported, environmentally unfriendly plastic material over the last five years in order to keep on producing baskets, said a basket-maker from Khamauktaung Village in Kawlin Township, which is regionally well-known for its production of traditional rattan and bamboo baskets. “In the past, we bought rattan from Moehnyin Township in Kachin State to weave baskets. When the price of rattan rose and the material grew rare, we turned to bamboo as our raw material. When bamboo became rare, we started weaving plastic strips into baskets,” he said.
Most of the residents of the village are ethnic Shans who cultivate rice and seasonal crops as their primary occupations. They make baskets to earn extra income. Their baskets have been distributed to markets across the country for many years.
Sai Lu Min