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June 22, 2018

World Environment Day: President U Win Myint highlights policy changes to ensure systematic waste management

President U Win Myint delivers a speech stressing the need for revised waste management laws at the ceremony to commemorate World Environment Day 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA
President U Win Myint delivers a speech stressing the need for revised waste management laws at the ceremony to commemorate World Environment Day 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate World Environment Day 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, President U Win Myint stressed the need to revise the enacted laws, rules and regulations in line with updated technology and conditions as part of efforts to ensure systematic waste management in the country.
“We need policy changes in order to adopt good practices that help reduce the use of single-use plastic, encourage the use of alternative products and materials and discourage littering,” said President U Win Myint.
He called for ensuring systematic waste management based on technology and resources by using good international practices and undertaking systematic waste collection, as well as disposing of waste through effective ways.
World Environment Day has become the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and taking action to protect the environment. With climate change impacting the world, including Myanmar, the planet is facing depletion of its natural resources, deforestation, ecosystem degradation, reduction in biodiversity, scarcity of water resources, and water and air pollution.
Of the environmental issues experienced at the international level, pollution by plastic waste is one of the major problems, and it has to be addressed throughout the world.
According to the UN Environment research for plastic pollution, some 500 billion plastic bags are being used every year globally, of which 50 per cent are single-use plastic bags. Some 10 per cent of all the waste disposed of each day is plastic waste, while 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the sea annually.
“If we fail to control this plastic waste, the amount of plastic in the sea is estimated to surpass the fish population by 2050. These findings must be taken into account by all countries, because plastic waste pollution in the sea and damage of marine life threatens an important food source and impacts human health.”
The theme of World Environment Day for 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution.”
President U Win Myint has also urged everybody to make efforts to eradicate plastic pollution, and reduce the production and usage of disposable plastic goods due to their negative effects and threats to marine pollution, aquatic life and human health.
As a key measure of waste management in Myanmar, the National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan (2017-2030) has been prepared with the aim of shaping a clean, green and adaptable environment at the national level.
“In accordance with this strategy and action plan, we have to take measures to enhance dumping services, ensure an environmentally sound management system for hazardous and industrial waste, utilise the 3R actions of reduce, reuse and recycle, seek regular funding for waste management, capacity building, awareness and training, and conduct regular monitoring at the national, state and regional, and city and township levels,” said President U Win Myint.
In Myanmar, the Mandalay City Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan (2017-2030) was completed in December 2017, based on the National Waste Management Strategy, to create a clean, green and beautiful city for future generations.
The President urged other cities and townships to implement the same strategy and action plan adopted by Mandalay and adapt it to their local situation.
The Hazardous Waste Management Master Plan for the national level is underway for the systematic management of hazardous waste, which can affect public health and the environment.
The President has also called for using recycled waste products, a system practised by most of the developing and developed countries, to help Myanmar achieve its goal of sustainable development.
He also appreciated Myanmar’s sound traditional practices of using renewable resources instead of plastic, highlighting the country’s significant examples, such as clay pots to store drinking water, and the use of cane baskets and leaves for shopping. Cane chairs and bamboo chairs are good examples of Myanmar handicrafts.
“So every citizen applying these good traditional practices continuously can help reduce plastic pollution,” said President U Win Myint.
“We should encourage the local small and medium enterprises to produce the products by reducing, reusing and recycling our plastic waste materials,” said U Win Myint.
As for the international cooperation activities in environmental conservation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Paris Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, Basel Convention, and the Stockholm Convention have been signed and implemented.
“International and regional cooperation must be enhanced to harness human resources and technologies in environmental protection measures,” said President U Win Myint.
In his concluding remarks, the President has urged people to take individual responsibility for reducing plastic pollution. (Full text of the President’s speech is available on the website of the Office of the President and Myanmar President’s Facebook).
Later, a message sent by United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres was read by Ms. Janet Jackson, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (a.i.).
At the ceremony, President U Win Myint awarded the first, second and third prize winners of the World Environment Day 2018 commemorative poster contest.
Further, Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win presented prizes to winners of the World Environment Day 2018 commemorative cartoon contest.
Before the concluding ceremony, the President and dignitaries posed for documentary photographs, together with the winners of the World Environment Day 2018 commemorative contest.
Before leaving the event, the President and dignitaries visited the booth set up to mark World Environment Day.—Myanmar News Agency

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