Cleanup: Starting with Simple Step in Waste Management Journey
Pyae Pyae Phyo
It is no doubt that we are facing a growing global waste problem. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an estimated 11.2 billion tons of solid waste are collected worldwide every year, and the associated risks pose a threat to ecosystems and human health. For instance, poor waste management causes air pollution, water, and soil contamination, ultimately result in short and long-term effects.
Since the earth is our home, all inhabitants including us humans experience the negative impact resulting from improper handling of waste management. As responsible citizens, we have the responsibility to take care of our mother nature because we are the source of the problem. Although it will be a long war against the pollution which results from urbanization, population growth, and industrialization, we must not give up or take the issue lightly; we must work together to find better solutions, even if it means picking up your own trash and disposing it wisely. There is a well-known Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Great things start with simple beginnings and no matter how ambiguous the task is, how long the journey is, or laborious the work is, a movement is always required to get the ball rolling.
Different organizations across the world have been working together to protect the planet and providing solutions to tackle everyday environmental challenges. Many volunteer groups and environmental heroes have been actively promoting proper waste management initiatives like cleanup litter programs, as littering has become one of the biggest issues, especially in developing countries. To note, littering is categorized as a type of pollution and can cause harm to biodiversity and other serious consequences to the environment.
Cleaning up trash is the beginning of a very simple step towards a proper waste management journey. Cleanups produce many positive changes; these events and initiatives reduce the negative impacts of littering on the environment and discourage people from doing it as they become more aware of the consequences. It is important to realize that even small steps can have a meaningful and lasting impact on the environment. If all of us proactively commit to cleanups with love, compassion, and discipline, we can make the world a better, cleaner place. Actions speak louder than words; what you do is more important than what you say, something all of us should adhere to in our daily lives.
Since the beginning of its operation, M&AOSB has noticed the waste management problem, especially litter, as one of the major concerns raised by all three communities where our operations are. M&AOSB started the waste management journey in 2020 and since then, we have been making positive changes to reach the point of sustainability. In December 2020, M&AOSB CSR Program has initiated the Trash Hero Program in the project area and has been actively working together with the local community while encouraging them to be a part of the local, national and global change.
Trash Hero Gaw Yan Gyi Chapter was created in 2020 to cultivate meaningful environmental changes and to create a cleaner and more sustainable community. The collaboration efforts are to reduce the negative impact on the environment and to inspire long-term behavior change in the community through local cleanups and litter pickups. Despite many restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trash Hero Gaw Yan Gyi Chapter successfully organized collective cleanup events with the support of the local community and M&AOSB while following national health guidelines. The Chapter kicked off its first cleanup program on 20 December 2020 in Nanttharpu Village Tract. As of 20 June 2021, the Chapter has organized a total of 11 cleanups and collected a total of 1,530 kg of trash. During these six months, many small group cleanups were initiated in compliance with COVID-19 regulations and mobilized a total of 309 heroes including 88 adults and 221 kids. Further, the cleanup groups received generous contributions and warm support from M&AOSB and the Nanttharpu community.
The table shows the progress of Trash Hero Gaw Yan Gyi’s cleanup journey. Surely, the Chapter will continue taking its steps towards tackling long-standing waste management issues and reach the global sustainable goals through collective, ongoing action, and awareness.
In conclusion, we would like to congratulate environmental volunteers and trash heroes all over the world, who participated in the fourth-year milestone of World Cleanup Day on September 18, 2021. World Cleanup Day aims to raise awareness of the mismanaged waste crisis by mobilizing all spheres of society to participate in cleanup actions. This special day started with the humble beginning in 2008 when 50,000 people united in Estonia to clean the country in 5 hours, attracting the global attention to join in the next cleanups and to find better solutions to tackle the global problem. World Cleanup Day is held over the course of a 24-hour period, on the third Saturday of September annually. According to Euronews Green, around 50 million volunteers in 180 countries participated in World Cleanup Day 2021 and the global civic movement has brought together millions of people for the biggest waste collection day in human history. It is hoped that the global cleanup journey could reach a zero waste destination very soon.