Myanmar has been facing considerable challenges with waste management. Rapid economic growth and urbanisation came along with severe problems resulting from ineffective systems for waste collection, transport and disposal. According to the French Myanmar Chamber of Commerce 80 million plastic bags are used every day in Myanmar. More than 4,160 tons of municipal waste are generated per day in Yangon and 1,120 tons in Mandalay. Out of this around 13% is plastic waste. In general, total solid waste production in Myanmar tripled during the previous 5 years. Both Yangon and Mandalay Regional Government as well as Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conversation (MoNREC) have recognized the lack of capacities in implementing sustainable waste management in industrial zones. Waste service providers in the industrial zones and the government staff of the Yangon's Pollution Control and Cleansing Department PCCD need structured, comprehensive and needs-based trainings. MSMEs producing eco-friendly packaging, recycled products or composting benefits (e.g. fertilizers) are still less known to mainstream costumers. They face constraints in terms of access to finance in order to upscale their offerings. Green Finance is a topic that the Myanmar Banks' Association MBA has been aware of due to the continuous engagement within another SWITCH-Asia project, SMART Myanmar. However, a common regulatory framework is still missing to further develop their SME finance segment. This includes the strict collateral requirements and short repayment periods.
The project addresses some of these key issues putting emphasis on: waste management in factories, MSMEs and communities; increasing the likelihood and attractiveness of adopting more sustainable options for packaging by working at the MSMEs level in cooperation with the retailers and identifying green finance possibilities; and raising awareness for young consumers, heads of home and producers (supermarkets and other retailers).
The main objective of the project is to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns in Myanmar through awareness raising and best practices on waste management. The action's three specific objectives are as follows:
- Adoption of sustainable waste management practices through stakeholder dialogue and capacity development
- Increase the availability of eco-friendly packaging for consumers and producers
- Increase consumers awareness on waste reduction and prevention of plastic
The Way Forward
- SMEs and communities to apply sustainable waste management practices in regard to plastics
- Design and implementation of waste reduction and waste management programmes in factories and MSMEs
- 15 MSMEs have up-scaled business which offer sustainable packaging or waste disposal alternatives
- Strategy for the reduction of plastic bags & packaging at supermarkets
- Increased consumer awareness and consumer information in Myanmar about waste avoidance, in particular with a focus on plastics.
Relation to European Green Deal, Circular Economy and Climate Change
Prevent Plastics promotes a circular economy and a more efficient use of resources through the transition to a clean and recycling-based economy. The project contributes to a better common understanding and improved knowledge about how to handle waste both at the supply chain level and from the side of consumption in Myanmar. Moreover, its multi-stakeholder approach enables public-private dialogues to be undertaken in order to tackle waste management in industries, MSMEs and communities.