Project for the Urgent Improvement of Solid Waste Management in Yangon City

Background

Yangon is the commercial capital of Myanmar which inhabits 5.1 million people. Rapid demographic, spatial economic changes have fundamentally reshaped the city’s character fundamentally, affecting among other aspects, an unprecedented volume of solid waste daily reaching the dumpsites around Yangon. Htein Bin dumpsite, the largest is about 150 acres is size, of which 70 acres is estimated as currently being used. It is located in Hlaing Thar Yar township, home to numerous migrants, who live in dense informal settlements.

Serious threats related to health, environment and safety, such as fire and explosions leading to the inhalation of toxic gases, diseases carried by mosquitoes, flies and rodents, contamination of soil and ground water exist in the area; resulting into considerably decrease in the quality of life of nearby residents and the local community around the dumpsite.

A fire outbreak on 21 April 2018 at Htein Bin dumpsite spread very quickly consuming more than half of the dump in three weeks of blaze. The fire was caused by methane gas produced by decaying organic matter and other waste. Smoke from the nearly month-long fire resulted in a noticeable deterioration in air quality in areas near the dumpsite and dozens of people, including children, were hospitalized with respiratory problems. Urgency of actions to reduce further fire risk was emphasized due to this incident.

Besides the risk of potential fires, the entire area was at high risk of possible collapses or methane gas explosions at any time again due to underneath heat, which accelerates decomposition of organic waste. These known risks to humans living in Htein Bin’s surrounding areas, call for immediate action.

Objectives

The objective of the project is to contribute to reduce the risk of future fire hazard and environmental hazard by the establishment of resilient, safe and sustainable waste management systems for Htein Bin dump site of the Yangon city through the implementation of the Fukuoka Method of solid waste management (SWM).

Activities

The project has two main components:

Component 1: Stabilization and rehabilitation of existing dumpsite (Htein Bin)

     1.1 Assessment of fire gutted area

Assess the current state of dumpsite, review design of the landfill site and leachate catchment

     1.2 Rehabilitation and improvement

Design the plan for rehabilitation and introduction of corrective measure for improvement of the existing dumpsite

     1.3 Review and evaluation

Review existing waste management mechanism and identification of areas of improvements

     1.4 Stabilization of waste layers

Install gas ventilation pipes to avoid further explosion and introduction of improvement in treatment of leachate

     1.5 Training and awareness building

Provide trainings to PCCD staff, operators, waste pickers and site workers, provision of awareness to strengthen 4R’s (refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle) to selected pilot communities

Component 2: Construction of the Fukuoka Method semi-aerobic landfill (pilot scale technology-transfer)

     2.1 Coordination mechanisms, training and capacity building

Establish coordination mechanisms among YCDC/PCCD, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka University and UN-Habitat for implementation and training

     2.2 Survey of landfill

Conduct preliminary survey of landfill site

     2.3 Planning of measures for environmental protection

Detailed design for landfill (semi-aerobic) and leachate treatment facility in compliance with environmental protection law

     2.4 Construction works

Construct pilot landfill with Fukuoka method

     2.5 Operation and monitoring

Institutionalize maintenance mechanisms within existing structure of YCDC/PCCD

Expected Outcomes

1) Emergency rehabilitation and stabilization

The humanitarian and environmental risks due to further fire from waste in the dumpsite to surrounding 150,000 residents are reduced through the rehabilitation and stabilization of the fire disaster area.

     2) Increase of dumpsite life span

The dumpsite life span is increased due to rehabilitation and stabilization of the fire gutted areas of the existing dumpsite as well as faster decomposition of organic waste through the Fukuoka method.

     3) Provision of technical capacity for Solid Waste Management

Technical capacity for the management and operation of SWM at the dumpsite is increased. Knowledge of YCDC/PCCD in mitigating fire risk in the dumpsite is enhanced by application of the Fukuoka Method (technology-transfer).

     4) Construction of the Fukuoka Method landfill

A pilot project to replicate the Fukuoka Method semi-aerobic landfill is constructed on available land at Htein Bin dumpsite

     5) Reduce socio-economic risks of the families of the waste pickers and neighborhood communities

Community mobilization (awareness and understanding), training on safety and security to waste pickers and communities in surroundings of Htein Bin dumpsites as well as awareness on the principle of refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle is strengthened.

Fukuoka Method

Developed as a result of the joint research of Fukuoka University and Fukuoka City in the 1970s, the Fukuoka method offers suitable, alternative and cost-effective technology to address the risks of the Htein Bin dumpsite. The method refers to mechanisms that facilitate faster decomposition of organic matter and reduction of methane gas emission, where leachate (wastewater) is improved as it is quickly removed from waste materials. While most of the world’s landfills are anaerobic, this semi-aerobic method also ensures significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The methodology has a proportional advantage over alternative waste management methods because of its ability to decompose organic matter faster leading to longer life span of dumpsites in addition to its leachate treatment system. Moreover, the approach to waste disposal reduces fire outbreaks, insects and rodents, odor, global warming and increase land’s aesthetic value.

Donors and Key Project Stakeholders

Donor:

Government of Japan

Key Project Stakeholders: 

Pollution Control and Cleansing Department (PCCD) – Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), Fukuoka City – Solid Waste Advisory Network (SWAN), Ministry of Construction (MoC), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), Yangon Region Government (YRG)

Relevant Links

The Rehabilitation and Stabilization of Htein Bin Dumpsite Commenced Information / News | UN-HABITAT Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Fukuoka) (unhabitat.org)

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