YCDC looks to private sector to solve trash problem

Yangon is handing over its massive trash problem to the highest bidder.

The city plans to privatise its trash collection services as the understaffed public cleaning team can’t keep pace with rapid urbanisation and its accompanying swells of rubbish.

A list of the top bids for the waste collection contract has been submitted to the district authorities, but the names of the companies have not yet being made public, U Aung Myint Maw, assistant chief engineer of Yangon City Development Committee’s (YCDC) Pollution Control and Cleaning Department, said on March 10.

According to YCDC figures there is just one public cleaner for every 1300 residents – less than one for every two streets.

Just 4100 cleaners are employed to maintain more than 10,000 streets in urban Yangon, which encompasses 33 townships and has a population of 5.2 million.

“It takes the whole morning to clean Bogalay Market Street … with 130 cleaners and five cars. You can imagine what happens with 10,000 streets,” said U Aye Min, who was elected to YCDC in December.

The main challenge is a lack of funding and rules that limit the appointment of new staff, he said.

While YCDC charges each household K1200 to K1800 per month to manage garbage, the money often does not find its way into YCDC coffers. As a result, income is too small to invest in resources to manage the growing amount of waste, U Aye Min said.

Yangon produces 1690 tonnes of litter every day, according to a 2012 survey. But YCDC said at best it can collect 1500 tonnes.

In South Dagon, resident Ko Than Htike Aung said YCDC only comes to empty the communal dump in his neighbourhood once every 10 days.

“The worst is the plastic garbage. I have no idea what it’s like in the downtown townships, but in our township, if YCDC doesn’t do something I think everywhere will be covered in plastic after 20 years,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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