Ministries and Coordination Mechanism
Several ministries oversee solid waste management in Myanmar (Table 1).
Table 1. Ministries in Charge of Solid Waste Management in Myanmar
Myanmar : Ministries and Coordination Mechanism (Table 1)
|Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation||Formulation of a legal framework, financial mechanism, and practical monitoring system on national waste management|
|Ministry of Industry||Management of state-owned industries, industrial zones and economic zones, and coordination of private industries to prevent pollution and degradation of natural environment that are rooted from industrial waste|
|Ministry of Health||Management of health-care waste generation; separation, coding, storage, transportation, handling, disposal of residues; furtherance of occupational health and safety and community awareness|
Source: Premakumara et al. (2017); Ministry of Health the Republic of Union of Myanmar (2014).
Solid waste management in Myanmar is a prime responsibility of the City Development Committee through its Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing, which is in charge of managing household, industrial, medical, and hazardous wastes. Its other departments, such as Playground and Garden, City Planning, Inspection and Agriculture, plan and implement waste management (ECD and MONREC, 2017). Cities that have similar committee are Mandalay, Yangon, and Nay Pyi Taw (Premakumara et al., 2017).
Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) and Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) (2017), National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Myanmar (2017–2030). https://optoce.no/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Myanmar-National-Waste-Management-Strategy_Mar-2018.pdf (accessed 8 November 2019).
Ministry of Health, the Republic of Union of Myanmar (2014), Myanmar Essential Health Services Access Project. http://mohs.gov.mm/su/RdW3UM (accessed 18 November 2019).
Premakumara, D.G., M. Hengesbaugh, K. Onogawa, and O.M. Hlaing (2017), Waste Management in Myanmar: Current Status, Key Challenges, and Recommendations for National and City Waste Management Strategies. https://iges.or.jp/en/publication_documents/pub/policyreport/en/5670/POLICY+REPORT__Myanmar.final_.2017.01.31rev.pdf (accessed 7 November 2019).
National Laws and Regulation
Myanmar enacted its first environmental policy in 1999 to integrate environmental governance and national economic development programme (UNDP, 2016). As new environmental challenges arise, Myanmar is formulating a new national environmental policy called the National Environmental Policy of Myanmar to reinforce three principles: clean and healthy environment, sustainable development, and environmental protection and management. In the first principle, a zero-waste approach will be applied. Waste will be minimised from the source since it is more cost effective than recovery action. Entities will be compelled to promote clean production.
Besides its national environmental policy, Myanmar has other regulations closely related with marine environment and solid waste management.
National Sustainable Development Strategy for Myanmar (2009)
The section on environmental quality management and enhancement states that a solid waste management programme and environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals and hazardous waste must be promoted.
Environmental Conservation Rules (2014)
Chapter IX of the rules deals with waste management. The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, in coordination with government departments and organisations, is responsible for specifying hazardous waste derived from industry, agriculture, mineral production, livestock and fisheries, waste disposal, and other activities (Article 41). They are also responsible for supporting the development of facilities to manage solid and liquid waste as well as gas emissions that contain hazardous materials (Article 42). Industries that generate hazardous waste are to establish waste treatment facilities. The Environmental Conservation Department is responsible for monitoring and reporting industries that violate the rule (Article 45). At an individual level, all persons are prohibited from emitting, disposing, and piling up hazardous waste at any place where it can directly or indirectly harm the surrounding environment (Article 69a). No one should perform any activity that might damage the environment (Article 69b).
Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (2015)
The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry shall determine waste management practices, encompassing limit of types, categories, and amount of waste, method and system of waste collection, storage, handling, transport, treatment, and disposal, and recycling or reuse of waste (Article 89) (Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, 2015).
Government of Myanmar (2014), Environmental Conservation Rules. https://myanmareiti.org/sites/myanmareiti.org/files/2014-06-environmental_conservation_rules-en.pdf (accessed 23 April 2021).
Government of Myanmar (2019), National Environmental Policy of Myanmar. https://www.mm.undp.org/content/dam/myanmar/docs/Publications/EnvEngy/undp-mm-national-environmental-policy-of-myanmar-2019.pdf (accessed 8 November 2019).
Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (2015), Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure. https://www.dfdl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/DFDL_Myanmar_Environmental_Impact_Assessment_Procedure_UNOFFICIAL_100316.pdf (accessed 8 November 2019).
National Commission for Environmental Affairs (NCEA), Ministry of Forestry (MOF), and United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific (2009), National Sustainable Development Strategy for Myanmar. http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/mya152933.pdf (accessed 23 April 2021).
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2016), A New and Comprehensive National Environmental Policy for Myanmar. https://www.mm.undp.org/content/myanmar/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2016/12/a-new-and-comprehensive-national-environmental-policy-for-myanma.html (accessed 8 November 2019).
Local governments in Myanmar have no specific regulations addressing marine environment or solid waste management. However, the city of Mandalay has conducted public campaigns and environmental education to foster the implementation of the reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) scheme. Through the Mandalay City Development Committee, the city has banned, since 2009, the production, trading, and utilisation of thin plastic bags. The committee has promoted alternative products, such as string bags and boxes and baskets made of leaves, to counteract the excessive use of plastic (Premakumara et al., 2017)
In the city of Yangon, the Clean Yangon Campaign group manages the campaign to raise awareness of plastic’s environmental impacts. Besides raising awareness of environmental degradation, the campaign focuses on fostering recycling plastic products to reduce waste. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to create Clean Yangon. This movement somehow has become a trendsetter as other movements, such as Clean Pyinmana, Clean Aunglan, and Clean Mandalay, have started to grow. Similar collective movements are expected to eventually create Clean Myanmar (Aung, 2018).
In another case, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute, and Thant Myanmar have conducted training series on plastic reduction, targeting the cities of Bagan, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw, the three major tourism destinations in Myanmar. The training is to create awareness of plastic pollution, support practical solutions, and investigate challenges in plastic management to achieve sustainability. This action is rooted in the fact that Myanmar has a huge amount of wastes, exacerbated by poor waste management systems, leading to pollution of waterways and death of birds and marine species. Forty-five hotels have committed to this action (Mizzima, 2018).
Aung, M.M. (2018), NGO Takes Aim at Plastic Waste. Myanmar Times. https://www.mmtimes.com/news/ngo-takes-aim-plastic-waste.html (accessed 7 November 2019).
Mizzima (2018). Helping Myanmar Hotels Deal with Plastic Refuse. Mizzima. http://mizzima.com/article/helping-myanmar-hotels-deal-plastic-refuse (accessed 7 November 2019).
Premakumara, D.G., M. Hengesbaugh, K. Onogawa, and O.M. Hlaing (2017). Waste Management in Myanmar: Current Status, Key Challenges, and Recommendations for National and City Waste Management Strategies. https://iges.or.jp/en/publication_documents/pub/policyreport/en/5670/POLICY+REPORT__Myanmar.final_.2017.01.31rev.pdf (accessed 7 November 2019).
Action Plans and Roadmaps
In 2017, Myanmar issued the National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Myanmar (2017–2030). Table 1 shows the strategic goals and action of this plan.
Table 1. Goals of the National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Myanmar
Myanmar : Action Plans and Roadmaps (Table 1)
|No.||Goal and Target||Duration||Achievement Target|
|1.||Advance waste collection management and eradicate practice of uncontrolled dumping and waste burning|
|- Attain sound waste collection by all citizens||8–12 years||100%|
|- Eradicate practice of uncontrolled dumping and burning in cities and authorise the use of environmentally sound disposal facilities in all cities||8–12 years||100%|
|2.||Promote sustainable waste management of industrial and hazardous waste|
|- Authorise waste collection and sound hazardous waste treatment in all cities||8–12 years||100%|
|- Authorise sound and environment-based industrial waste treatment in all cities||8–12 years||100%|
|3.||Reduce waste by applying the 3R principles and establishing a resource circular society|
|- Authorise city waste management strategies and action plan for waste reduction||8–12 years||100%|
|- Authorise food waste switch from landfills||8–12 years||100%|
|- Authorise waste separation and waste recycling for industrial, medical, and other wastes||8–12 years||100%|
|4.||Secure sustainable financing scheme|
|- Perform full cost accounting for waste services in all cities||8–12 years||100%|
|- Establish cost-reflective tariffs for waste management services in all cities||8–12 years||100%|
|5.||Raise awareness, provide assistance, and build capacity|
|- Improve implementation of standard awareness-raising programmes in cities||8–12 years||100%|
|- Reinforce implementation of environmental education programmes in schools||8–12 years||100%|
|6.||Encourage fulfilment, control, enforcement, and recognition|
|- Establish benchmark performance indicators within the city’s development committee||8–12 years||100%|
|- Alleviate successful enforcement actions field||8–12 years||100%|
|- Reduce number of non-compliant entities|
Source: ECD and MONREC (2017).
On a smaller scale, Mandalay City has launched the Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Mandalay City 2017–2030. As the second largest city in Myanmar, with a growing population and economy, Mandalay faces huge challenges in managing its waste. The city has five strategic goals to create better waste management (Table 2).
Table 2. Five Strategic Goals of Waste Management in Mandalay City
Myanmar : Action Plans and Roadmaps (Table 2)
|A. Provision of sufficient and affordable municipal waste collection service|
|Increased collection coverage of municipal waste||80%||90%||100%|
|Separation of waste at source and operation of a collection system||1 or 2 pilot counties||Half of counties||All counties|
|Increased material recovery and recycling||25%||50%||80%|
|B. Termination of uncontrolled dumping and open burning, and increase of final treatment and disposal|
|Reduction of illegal dumping and open burning||50%||75%||100%|
|Enhancement of landfill||Improvement of operation of existing open dumps and controlled landfills||Development of sanitary landfill||Full operation of sanitary landfill|
|Reduction of food waste, market waste, and green waste disposed in landfills||15%||35%||60% and enforcement of law banning food and market waste in landfills|
|Introduction of appropriate technologies||Feasibility study and pilot application of composting, biogas, etc.||Composting and biogas. Feasibility study on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies||Application of RDF and WTE technologies|
|C. Promotion of proper waste collection and treatment of industrial and other special types of waste|
|Increased recycling of industrial and other types of waste||25%||50%||80%|
|Reduction of industrial and other types of waste in landfills without pre-treatment||25%||50%||Ban on industrial waste to be disposed in landfills (100%)|
|D. Promotion of proper disposal and treatment of liquid waste|
|Increased coverage of liquid waste collection and treatment in domestic sector||25%||50%||100%|
|Increased coverage of liquid waste collection and treatment in industrial sector||25%||50%||100%|
|Increased coverage of liquid waste collection and treatment in public areas||25%||50%||100%|
|E. Performance of capacity development, awareness raising, and advocacy|
|Increased number of counties that implement standard awareness-raising programmes||25%||50%||100%|
|Increased number of schools that implement environmental education programmes||25%||50%||100%|
|Increased cooperation with other stakeholders for sustainable waste management service||25%||50%||100%|
|F. Promotion of sustainable services through regular reviews, monitoring, innovation, and improvement|
|Development and monitoring of data collection and benchmark performance||50%||75%||100%|
|Decreased number of enforcement actions against non-compliant entities||50%||75%||100%|
|Increased customer satisfaction on waste management service||50%||75%||100%|
Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) and Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) (2017), National Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Myanmar (2017–2030). https://optoce.no/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Myanmar-National-Waste-Management-Strategy_Mar-2018.pdf. (accessed 8 November 2019).
Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) and the Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) (2017), Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Mandalay City (2017–2030). https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/30990/WMSen.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (accessed 23 April 2021).