Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trash dumping threatens Yangon waterways

As the National League for Democracy embarks on a volunteer program to keep the country’s streets clean, experts said that Yangon’s water quality is at risk because people keep throwing garbage into rivers, creeks and ditches.

U Aung Myint Maw, assistant head of Yangon City Development Committee’s Environmental Conservation Department, said persistent, widespread dumping was a significant source of pollution in Nga Moe Yeik Creek, and the Hlaing and Bago rivers.

Along with dead leaves, household garbage was producing a kind of polluted liquid known as “leachate”, which reduces the volume of oxygen in the water that marine life and plants need to survive.

“Waste thrown into the water slows the flow and lowers the volume of oxygen. This damages the composition of the water and endangers marine life,” said U Aung Myint Maw.

Despite attempts by city workers to keep the channels clear, residents just keep throwing more garbage into the water, he said. The municipal body is also short of both staff and equipment to clear waterways, he added.

In his study “Problems of Currents and Garbage in Yangon”, YCDC consultant U Soe Tun wrote, “Ditches can be blocked when car driveways or shops are built over them. Garbage builds up despite attempts to clear it. Even though some townships have ditches connecting to creeks, the sluice gates of some creeks are too rusty to work. Insufficient provision was made for water quality in the new townships.”

Translation by Kyawt Darly Lin