MANDALAY, 11 June 2015: Mandalay’s city officials say they wlll encourage tourism and shopping establishments to abolish plastic shopping bags and use alternatives that are more environmentally friendly.
Global New Light of Myanmar media reported Mandalay City Development Committee discussed how to become a plastic bag free city during a meeting with owners of restaurants, teashops, pubs and hotels late last week.
The city is facing a massive challenge to deal with household garbage, but the expansion of tourism is adding to the city’s problems dealing with the tons of plastic bags visitors leave behind.
MCDC member, Dr Thwin Kyaw Kyaw, outlined plans to eliminate the use of plastic and polyethylene bags and urged business owners to keep the city clean by correctly disposing of waste.
If it happens, Mandalay could be one of the first towns in Southeast Asia to become plastic bag free.
Plastic bags have been produced in Myanmar for more than 20 years. Since 2009 manufacturers have been required to stamp the words “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” on all plastic bags.
A government programme of distributing free non-recyclable plastic bags in Mandalay began in 2009.
However, plastic bags are only the tip of the iceberg. Like so many destinations in Southeast Asia that are adorned with five-star hotels and attractions, they lack even a basic garbage collection service.
On the streets of popular destinations garbage infested with flies and rats is a common sight right on the doorstep of world-class cultural attractions that draw thousands of international tourists.
The Asia Development Bank’s Environmental Operations Centre in Bangkok published a report in 2008 saying Myanmar is one of several countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion where “there is a general lack of awareness and understanding” of environmental issues.
Unfortunately the ADB assessment would also apply to every country in the wider ASEAN community, with the exception of Singapore and possibly Malaysia.
Source: TTR Weekly