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June 05, 2020

Creating plastic-free settlements

During her visit to Kachin State on 9 January, the State Counsellor met with local residents of Myitkyina and replied to a question on creating a plastic waste management system in the area by pointing out that public participation is paramount in that endeavor.
Myanmar is gifted with beautiful natural scenery but careless littering has stirred up plastic blemishes on that beauty. The people are not all lazy on this matter. We see in the news of the public and organizations partnering up to clear back alleys of rubbish and transform them into recreational areas and volunteers cleaning drains, sewage canals, parks and other public properties of litter.
It’s just that there are more people who are indifferent to littering and continue to do so than there are those who care for environmental cleanliness. Thus, the efforts of the few are swiftly clouded by the carelessness of the majority and our cities, villages and settlements continue to me dominated by plastic waste.
This is what our State Counsellor meant when she said public participation is paramount. You can implement a flawless waste management system but if not everyone is adhering to it then we won’t see the results we wish for.
Our neighbours of Thailand and Bangladesh have put certain restrictions to reduce plastic production and encouraged recycling to lower its impact on the natural environment. But plastic accompanies almost every aspect of our lives from the bag we use to carry groceries to phone covers we put our smartphones in. Only a few percentage gets recycled and the rest are still dumped out in nature.
There is only so much officials can do. It is up to businesses to be more accountable for plastic production and citizens to reduce their reliance on plastic products. But the most important thing everyone can do now is to stop littering everywhere and putting the garbage where it belongs – in the dustbin.

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