In Myanmar, along the Ayeyarwaddy river bank of Bagan or Mandalay region, tons of plastic rubbish are flooded that can badly affect biodiversity and marine life like the endangered lifespan of Ayeyarwady Dolphins. On the other hand, Myanmar is also an agricultural country and the farms alongside harvesting are totally relying on the rivers. Besides, Ayeyarwady river is the lifeblood of Virgin Islands and harvest fields. The river is also connected with the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. That massive plastic pollution in the river can terribly harm the soil and even the food chains or ecosystem of living things and the local people.
The logic is simple, Ayeyarwaddy river is life. So, what would happen now that it's slowly dying?
According to Jeske, F. (2019). Survey on Plastic Waste in the Ayeyarwady, 2018-2019: Rapid River sampling for first quantitative assessment of floating plastics in Myanmar’s great river. FFI Myanmar, with Thant Myanmar, viewed 17 February 2020, the Ayeyarwady river is ranked as the 9th most polluted river globally with a plastic discharge of roughly 100 tons per day. Also, the river is vital for the over 60 per cent residents living along the bank and in its basin or sub basin. The river carries the waste through its water flow to the sea.
In the Myanmar”s middle area, the residents near the river store most of the waste at the riverbanks, household backyards, and small illegal backyards. The stored waste enters into the river during the first floods. In the regional survey of plastic types contributing to Myanmar’s plastic pollution by Thant Myanmar and FFI Myanmar, the plastic packages of instant coffee mix are 7 per cent multi-layer flexibles, whereas 62 per cent are hard plastic of bottle cap, 22 per cent are soft plastic of betel nut bags and 9 per cent of Styrofoam are boxes. In addition, 119 tons of plastic run down the Ayeyarwady every day.
How do the initiation and public awareness lead to deal with the concern of the people and engagement?
Although there are many forms of initiation and awareness raising for making our planet healthy, the stimulation under eco-tourism leads to the two major sectors which are public advocacy and awareness. In the process, the tasks and responsibilities are mostly taken by three parties:
government sector, tour guides, and the residents.
For example, the livelihoods along the Ayeyarwaddy river have to be conserved, together, by the government and the residents there. In this way, as a third party, Mingalago, one of the tour companies in Myanmar, normally observes the environmental conditions and situations in the region and informs not only to the community but also the responsible people on government groups so that they can perform maintenance and conservations. Myo Min Thu, Mingalago asserted that they can take the role of social journalism for environmental conservations through the local tourist sites, such as contents about sustainable tourism and the endangered life of Ayeyarwady Dolphins.
All in all, if we don’t say NO to Plastics, Plastics will say NO to our healthy planet, therefore, taking actions with each and everyone’s responsibility and hands will be the best and ever solution against the plastic pollution world. In this way, people around the globe are focusing more on the balancing and long run impacts of economic, social and environmental development rather than the temporary improvement that can somehow lead the side effects.