Myanmar’s Model Cities advance booming 3R’s campaign into ground pilots
Under ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme, another round of seed funds for training and educational materials were awarded to Yangon, Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin to continue ramping their intensive 3R’s campaigns targeting communities and schools. Below is a summary of the progress achieved and continuity from Year 2 to Year 3.
Excited students examining and discussing the exhibits at the 3R’s mobile learning truck.
In Year 2, Yangon expanded its school-based 3R’s programme (part of a larger programme supported by the City of Torino) with educational kits made from recyclables to an additional two townships. The school-based programme and materials of the educational kits were copied and adapted by Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin.
In Year 3, Yangon has established its first mobile 3R’s awareness vehicle as a ‘proof of concept’ – basically, a truck that is outfitted with exhibition panels, LCD screens, projectors and other educational materials to teach people about the 3R’s and waste separation at source in an attractive manner. The vehicle is an easy tool to bring multimedia educational materials all over the city for regular awareness raising campaigns and training sessions. Thanks to the positive response by Yangon’s Mayor and staffs, YCDC has allocated extra USD6,000 to upgrade the first vehicle (e.g. bigger LCD screen) and to establish the second and third trucks.
In Year 2, the city’s first ESC learning centre was established in Aung Myae Thar San township. The learning centre had two sections – indoor section provides space for training and exhibiting educational materials about 3R’s and sustainability. The outdoor section is a garden where organic waste is composted using the Takakura method and applied to various fruit trees, herbs and vegetables. This section was transformed from a disused, empty and unsightly space into a green and beautiful garden.
The city’s first model eco-school competition was established and the top 3 eco-schools received prizes from the Mayor. The 1st prize winning school (BEHS No. 26) eventually won the National Eco-Model school contest and represented Myanmar to receive the ASEAN Eco-Schools awards on behalf of Myanmar. The principal of the school was a pioneer in composting and making crafts from waste materials. The most widespread craft was making waste tyres into trash bins. Some 40 trash bins were made and contributed to the city to be placed all around the Mandalay Lake, one of the key tourist destination. Recently, Nagata Corporation has also donated a number of waste bins.
Subsequently in Year 3, the model eco-school competition was scaled up. The number of participating schools more than doubled, and the number of prizes were also increased (from only 3 winners to 18 winners – 3 best schools in each of the 6 districts). The total area of the community ESC centre was expanded by roughly 30%, with the Mayor’s backing. The diversity and density of fruits, vegetable and herbs has more than doubled. These were distributed for free to neighbouring residents and MCDC office workers. The top performing 18 eco-schools (over 100 teachers) were given training, equipment to implement the collection of recyclables, composting and the craftmaking utilising waste that cannot be recycled. This project was synchronized with the bilateral cooperation with Kitakyushu City, Japan. Educational materials for composting developed by Kitakyushu City was translated to Burmese and continued to be used in all current and future composting training and pilot projects, for example in the top 18 Model eco-schools.
These teachers from the top 18 Model Eco-scohols in Mandalay will be the pioneer group of ground actors who will translate the vision and theories of waste segregation at source and environmentally-friendly treatment of organic waste after undergoing training organised by the city leaders.
Rooftop solar is being rapidly installed in the rural/non-central areas of Mandalay and other parts of Myanmar, for example around the airport. These solar kits are useful for providing lights to roadside vendors and shops at night. They are also in demand in some housing areas where electricity supply is rationed or unstable. Many households need lights at need for their kids to study and do homework.
Mandalay City plans to introduce solar panel at its Public ESC Learning Centre and potentially some schools, and begin mentoring programmes with Meiktilla (twinning with another city in the Mandalay Region). For the public ESC Learning Centre, About 750W would be needed to power 6 x 60w room lights, 6 x 60W outdoor lights, 4 x 150W fans and a 70W TV.
A learning corner at Mandalay City’s first learning centre for environmental sustainability.