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Myanmar time to overcome sculptural contamination

Plastics. Myanmar is not immune to the worldwide plastics scrap plague. Today, plastics such as pouches, flasks, food packages and straw are widely used throughout the state. You can see almost everywhere and it affects every one of us, but we can all do something about it.

It' s time Myanmar - companies, people and the goverment - tackled the issue of sculptural contamination before this gold territory becomes a sculptural one. Yangon's recent fire at the Htein Bin dump, which covered him for day after day with a smell of burnt plastics, was a clear memento of the fact that our relation to plastics in Myanmar has become poisonous - in the truest sense of the word.

Plastics have been around for a long time. But in the 2000' there has been a significant rise in the use of disposable plastics worldwide - which we only use once, on average for about 12 min and then discarded to never use again.

Much of these objects are made of synthetic material, which is of little value for the environment and ends up in our waterways for later transport to our seas, where it not only damages sea animals but also reaches the world' s human health as microplastic. It is estimated that if we keep using and disposing of synthetic materials as before, by 2050 we will have more synthetic materials than we will have in our seas.

One clear explanation why we use a great deal of disposable plastics is that it is comfortable. There is no need to put our own re-usable cases on the shelves - we can get as many as we want for free. You can order take-away foods in polystyrene or other synthetic containers and you do not have to prepare them yourself.

Plastics are simple to use, but getting them off is the hard part. I' ve only recently found out that most of the plastics ever made are still out there. Plastics don't just vanish. Researchers do not agree how long it actually will take for plastics to vanish.

Think of what this means for the 80 million sacks used per diem in Myanmar and what it means for the sacks we will use in the future and the after that. The correct treatment of wastes is of course one of the major issues. We pay very little for our services in Myanmar, at least as people.

Wherever I reside, near the Aung Sanadium in Yangon, I am paying K 600 per quater to have my garbage collected by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC). Of course, this is not enough to finance sound solid wastes. Municipalities across the whole state urgently need more garbage trucks or similar devices and infrastructures for collecting garbage and more landfill sites where garbage can be treated and disposed of in an orderly manner.

There' s simply not enough cash, which is why so much rubbish ends up on our roads, streams or areas of great historical or environmental importance such as Bagan, the Shan Falls in Shan State or Kyaiktiyo in Mon State. That there is no correct rubbish disposal and not enough containers in places to dump it correctly is a threat to the enviroment, but also a" shattered windows effect" where it is thought to be already filthy, so why take the trouble to keep it tidy?

Practicing just dumping rubbish on the floor is something we need to do. Is it possible to dispense with the comfort of using disposable plastics? Is it possible to boost resources for managing wastes? Is it possible to heighten our consciousness of the effects of overusing disposable plastics and what are the possible options?

Yeah, we can loosen the mimetic contamination in Myanmar. The first step is to reduce our own consumption of disposable plastics and switch to alternative products. Reduced disposal of rubbish means less spending on landfill development, the purchase of garbage trucks, the installation and management of garbage bins and on roads.

Alternative to disposable plastics, many of them traditionally to Myanmar, we have to return these sustainability methods and implement new ones, for example the Myanmar way, which includes a luncheon pack instead of a small bag, drinking the teacup in a real teahouse mug instead of taking it away five-minute later at home with leafs and other re-usable materials for repackaging it.

There is a need to tackle plastics contamination at political levels and to introduce tools that make the use of disposable plastics more costly and the use of more durable material more cheap. It is important that we stop contamination and raise funding for refuse disposal. They are changes that we desperately need to reverse the flood of this plastics epidemic that threatens our waters, our foods, our wildlife, our natural environment, our human well-being and the beauties of Myanmar.

It' s clear that we all need to alter the way we use and dispose of plastics. What we need from the goverment is a policy that helps us use less plastics, shift to more environmentally friendly materials and raise the budgets for their use.

All of us, people who call this nation home and look after its own futures, must also think about how our use of plastics affects the lands and waters on which we rely and how we can use less of them. Myanmar and the wider hemisphere are celebrating International Environment Day on 5 June and this year's topic is "Beat plastics pollution".

May this be the point of departure for our struggle against plastics and guarantee a cleaner Myanmar for present and coming generation. Try to spend a whole year without disposable plastics. Hannah Helsingen is a member of Thant Myanmar. The Thant Myanmar is a grass-roots initiative founded in 2018 with the aim of reducing disposable plastics contamination in Myanmar by emphasizing, promoting or launching initiatives and obligations to achieve this objective.

It wants everyone to think about how much sculpture they use, how they use it, what objects we can reject or substitute with non-plastic alternatives and end up with a clean Myanmar.

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