Pure Rubbish: 1 month after clean-up, canal packed with garbage

Before and after shots of a canal cleaned up by Clean Yangon via Clean Yangon Facebook.
Before and after shots of a canal cleaned up by Clean Yangon via Clean Yangon Facebook.

Only a month after 11 members of Clean Yangon, a civil advocacy group, spent a Saturday diligently cleaning up a canal in the city’s Thaungnyunt neighborhood, new pics have emerged showing the waterway once again in its “natural” state — filled-to-bursting with trash.

The feel-bad before and after shots, showing the canal briefly free from trash, then clogged once more with plastic bags, water bottles and assorted refuse, highlights just how far Yangon has to go in managing waste, the group said late last week.

The group’s viral Facebook post has been shared more than 6,000 times, drawing sad reactions and angry criticism from netizens.

“After working hard together to clean up, right now all we can do is react with sadness,” Kaung Khant Kyaw commented.

Despite the general sense of disappointment, others offered a way forward with the issue, suggesting different ways to prevent repeating past mistakes.

“We need to find the reason why trash is being thrown like this. If we don’t have enough trash cans, we need to supply areas with more. If trash cans are too full, we need to make trash pickups more regular and reliable. If people are unaware of the effects, they need to be educated,” U Tin Oo, a regular contributor to Clean Yangon’s Facebook page, commented on the post.

Clean Yangon, founded in 2017, has regularly been organizing clean-ups around the city, with more than 1,000 volunteers in its organization.

In March, they initiated they initiated their own version of the #Trashtag challenge and launched the #CleanUp Challenge to bring citizens around Myanmar together to clean up an area filled with trash and post before and after photos.

As Yangon’s population grows steadily, waste management is becoming an increasingly urgent problem, with increasing volumes of trash and shrinking urban spaces.

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