In 2017 Hans Breukelman, together with Bert Keesman of MetaSus and Herman Huisman of Rijkswaterstaat, joined an Expert Team that carried out a scoping mission on the solid waste situation in Myanmar. The findings were written down in an extensive report in June 2017. The Expert Team concluded that waste is indeed a big problem. Litter is all around, creating health hazards, obstruction of waterways and an unattractive public environment.
All in all Myanmar’s 57 million inhabitants produce around 20,000 tons of waste per day. City cleaning, waste collection and transport leave much to be desired and the waste is disposed off on large dumpsites without proper management, equipment and infrastructure. Recycling initiatives are few and remain mostly in the domain of informal collectors and scavengers.It is clear that priority must be given to upgrading the quality and coverage of municipal waste management services. This upgrade must then provide the basis for raising public awareness, as real improvements can only be achieved when uplifting citizens’ interest and public services go hand in hand.
Parallel to this it was considered very important to implement actions on improving the financial and organisational sustainability of public services in this field. The first recommendation was to focus on capacity building among present and future staff in waste management. This recommendation was implemented by BreAd in February 2018. The cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Piy Daw, together with the Netherlands organised a one week training on Sustainable Waste Management in Yangon. The subjects of the training were (i) Policy and Regulation, (ii) City cleaning and Waste collection, (iii) Sustainable landfilling, (iv) Recycling and (v) Sustainable finance and organisation, and each of these five subjects were covered by one day of training. Almost 100 representatives of Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Daw and other cities attended the training.
At this moment the Netherlands is considering further steps, intensifying the cooperation between the two countries in this field.