Trash troubles pile up in Mogok
THE landfill in Mogok township, Mandalay Region, is close to overflowing as the municipality struggles to come to an agreement with the regional government over an alternative waste disposal site.
At the current rubbish dump, which is located close to a number of residences, trash is being burned as the 3-acre site is nearing its capacity. According to the municipality’s chair, U Win Tint, the trash fires pose a danger to public health and the environment.
“There is no more space at the current site for more rubbish. The site must be moved as it is too close to people but we have had difficulties in securing another location,” U Win Tint said.
“We have submitted a proposal to the regional government to move the dump after consultation with residents, but the government has objected,” he said.
Under the municipality’s proposal, which has been submitted and rejected twice since August, the waste disposal site would be moved some 7 miles away to a 200-acre plot of land between Mogok and Momeik/Mong Mit, Shan State.
The region minister for environment said the proposal was rejected once because of missing information, and a second time because the proposed relocation area would overlap with protected forest land.
“It is not true that the region government is objecting to the proposal,” said U Myo Thit, regional minister for resources and the environment. “[The first submission] did not include a recommendation from respective hluttaw representatives. In the second submission, the recommendation was included but the proposed area falls within a forest area. Moreover, the proposal was not only concerned with the rubbish dump, but also included other matters, so it became a situation that needed the Union government’s input. Our regional officials recommended the proposal.”
Residents in Mogok also support the relocation initiative.
“It would be better if the dump was moved to where the municipality suggests. This site is far from the city whereas the current dump is very close. We get worried for our health due to the fumes emitted by burning waste materials,” said Mogok resident U Aung Kyaw Moe.
“The regional government should approve the proposal,” he added.
The estimated 200,000 residents of Mogok are currently served by 16 workers and five trucks who collect an estimated 20 tonnes of trash each day.
According to the township administration, their proposal to move the Mogok dump is an opportunity to also improve the entire system.
“The township’s garbage collection system is very weak. If our proposal is approved, we will educate the public on proper waste disposal and to separate wet and dry garbage. If we get our relocation site, then we will engage companies to produce electricity from the waste. We have also requested five more garbage trucks which the [regional] minister said he would provide,” said U Win Tint.
He added that the township administration will persevere with their proposal until the dump is relocated. – Translation by Khine Thazin Han
Officials in Mogok are trying to relocate the landfill before it spills beyond the allotted area.