Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yangon launches clean up, beautification campaign as tourist numbers rise

A multi-sectoral campaign to clean up and beautify Yangon kicked off Sunday in a downtown alley between 31st and 32nd streets, as the country registered a spike in tourist arrivals.

Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein at the opening of the beautifying Yangon campaign. Nyo Me / The Myanmar TimesChief Minister U Phyo Min Thein at the opening of the beautifying Yangon campaign. Nyo Me / The Myanmar Times

The campaign was spearheaded by the social and heritage conservation group Doh Eain, the residents from the respective streets and the Yangon City government.

Artists painted colorful artworks on about 645 feet of otherwise dull concrete walls in the area to make the place more lively and attractive.

Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Mayor U Maung Maung Soe were at the event and the city mayor gave a speech at the start of the ceremonies.

“As a mayor, I want to make cleanliness a priority. We start by cleaning the back alleys and then collecting trash from the drains,” said Mayor U Maung Maung Soe.

“This is just a start. Our aim is to raise the consciousness of the people about cleanliness and keeping the surroundings clean,” he added.

The mayor said that imposing fines alone on violators will not be enough to enforce discipline, urging the community to be vigilant and not to “accept” households that throw their garbage everywhere.

“I will cut water and electric supplies to that kind of household if the community agrees,” he said, adding that if the erring households continue their bad habits, he would buy the house and drive off the misbehaving residents.

The Yangon Region government is doing its share to clean up the region, according to Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein.

“We have plans to hold discussions at all townships with Hluttaw representatives, responsible persons in government, quarter administrators and town elders in the division. At the discussion, we will let the town elders and residents talk for 3 or 4 hours,” he said.

“We want to implement a situation where the people take their own initiative and depend on their own money. In this way, all people can participate in the country’s development”, he added.

The residents hope to make the alley into a place where the residents can rest. They plan to build four playgrounds, three gardens, two mobile libraries, two flower gardens and a gym where people can do their daily exercises, U Khin Maung Latt, one of the back alley activists, told The Myanmar Times.

He added, “There is also a plan to install CCTVs and trash cans in the alley using funds from the residents.”

In the evening of the opening ceremony, readings of poems and literature, talks by U Nay Bhone Latt, Daw Than Myint Aung and U Min Ko Naing were also being held in the back alley.

Tin Tin Hla, 44, who was born and raised on 32nd street expressed her joy about the makeover.

“I am really glad and satisfied with the changing of the alley into a beautiful garden. In the past, we could not sit here because a lot of us got dengue fever from the mosquitoes,” she said.