Helping Myanmar hotels deal with plastic refuse

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UN Environment, the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute and Thant Myanmar are organising a series of trainings on plastic reduction this November in three key destinations namely Bagan, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. The trainings kicked off today at the Hilton Nay Pyi Taw, and then continue at the Thante Hotel Nyaung Oo in Bagan on 19 November, and at Triumph Hotel in Mandalay on 28 November 2018.

As part of the global Clean Seas campaign led by UN Environment, these trainings aim to raise awareness on the issue of plastic pollution, provide practical solutions, and identify the challenges or barriers that are preventing hotels from becoming plastic-free and more sustainable.

Tourism destinations in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, are struggling with mountains of trash. With the lack of efficient waste management systems, plastic waste winds up in rivers and oceans, not only polluting our water ways, but also killing birds and marine life. In Mandalay alone, 889 tons (2017) of waste is produced every day, with plastics accounting for 12.6% (112 tons) of it.

“We want to work closely with the hospitality industry to find practical solutions to reduce single-use plastics,” emphasised Barbara Schott from Thant Myanmar. She continues that “it makes perfect business sense to reduce plastic, not only to save cost but also to use it as a promotion tool to attract new clients, especially from Western markets.”

The response from the Myanmar hospitality industry has been encouraging, according to Thant Myanmar. At a recent event in partnership with booking platform Agoda, a total of 45 committed to gradually reduce their use of plastic in their hotels.

As part of the trainings, Thant Myanmar has designed a “Plastic Reduction Manual‟ with easy-to-apply activities for hotels in reducing their plastic footprint. Hotels like Hilton, Thante and others are already actively working on plastic reduction and will share their knowledge with other participants. Facilitators will meanwhile work with the hoteliers to identify their individual plastic footprint, set up an action plan, identify ways to raise awareness with clients and to set goals and commitments until end of 2019.

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