Businesses should reduce plastic use to secure a greener

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In Myanmar, plastic waste put tourists off in Ngapali, they are a blot on the landscape in Bagan and they are the source of Yangon’s toxic landfill fire.
Photo: UN Environment

Today is the World Environment Day and this year the theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Businesses in the country need to take concrete steps to help achieve a greener, cleaner Myanmar.

Plastic pollution is not an abstract concept. This year alone, global manufacturers will produce an estimated 360 million tonnes of plastic, which is projected to nearly double in the next 10-15 years. The most common single-use plastics found in the environment include cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers and foam takeaway containers, among others. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) estimated that the economic impact of marine plastics to the tourism, fishing and shipping industries in that region alone has reached US$1.3 billion.

This should come as no surprise. In Myanmar, plastic waste puts tourists off in Ngapali, they are a blot on the landscape in Bagan and they are the source of Yangon’s toxic landfill fire.

The notorious fire at Htein Bin landfill, polluting large swaths of Yangon city in burned plastic stench, is a wake-up call for industries, conglomerates and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to eliminate the use of avoidable plastic waste. This means working with employees, partners, suppliers, clients and stakeholders to promote greener options and make greener decisions.

The Myanmar Times applauds the efforts made by members and founders of Thant Myanmar, a grassroots movement fighting plastic pollution in the country. Their endeavours to raise awareness, engage and involve different sectors, stakeholders and the media are essential in gearing up for the World Environment Day today.

As Thant Myanmar member Hanna Helsingen rightly pointed out in an opinion article last week, while the issue of plastic pollution needs to be addressed at the policy level, it is clear that we can all start by changing the way we use and discard plastic. Meanwhile, the private sector is crucial in this regard in spearheading sustainable solutions. The first step for individual businesses is to reduce the use of single-use plastic and switch to alternatives.

Thanks to the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), some hotels now are offering “green meeting” packages while others have stopped the use of plastic water bottles. Meanwhile, restaurants, including Union Bar and Grill, Locale, Gekko and Paribawga Café have embraced the campaign to eradicate the use of plastic straws. This initiative is commendable but by no means the end game – much more has to be done in the battle against plastic pollution. This newspaper is fully behind the campaign to go green.

The MCRB has recently published some “green” guidelines for businesses when hosting meetings and events. This newspaper believes that those suggestions can save energy, reduce plastic use and enhance use of locally sourced material. The guidelines are as follows:

Thant Myanmar is a grassroots movement fighting plastic pollution in the country.

Read full article at The Myanmar Times: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/businesses-should-reduce-plastic-use-secure-greener-better-myanmar.html

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