With the support of several concerned organisations – WWF, MCRB and UNDP – and the German Embassy, who generously supported, FFI and Thant Myanmar would like now to convene a workshop with ECD to share the results of joint research. They will also take that opportunity to discussion possible options to address the blight of uncontrolled disposal of solid waste into the Ayeyarwaddy, the lifeblood of Myanmar.
Background on the topic
Over 60% of Myanmar’s population lives in the greater Ayeyarwaddy river basin. While these waterways provide livelihood for millions of people, they are at the same time used to dispose of solid waste. The contamination of water and soil with solid waste, especially plastics, is constantly rising due to a change in consumption patterns to more repackaged food and other imported consumables. This change in consumption, however, is not mirrored by a change in solid waste management (SWM) practices, which continues to consist often of open burning or free disposal into nature. The German Embassy is funding a research project to understand the amount of plastic waste entering the Ayeyarwaddy. This research is led by Fauna & Flora International and is supported by multiple organisations which see plastic pollution as a threat on a national and global scale.
Methodology of the research
Measurements were taken at five strategic points along the Ayeyarwaddy river: North and South of Mandalay, at the lower Chindwin River, in Chauk, and Pyay using a manta net and following the standard procedure of estimating fish stock or other particles in rivers or the ocean. Samples are taken at two different seasons of the year in order to generate a complete picture of the contribution of rain to the increase of plastic in the river: December 2018 (dry season) and June 2019 (stable rain). The data is compared and extended by data captures September 2018 by the Norwegian research vessel measuring micro plastics entering the ocean from Myanmar rivers.