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Rangoon launches campaign to clean up alleyways

A municipal worker tries to unblock a sewage drain in a Rangoon alleyway. (PHOTO: DVB)

Rangoon, or Yangon as it is now officially known, is launching a programme to clean up its back alleyways following a request to the mayor by local MPs.

Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) says it aims to clear up the rubbish from an unspecified number of alleyways in each of the six city townships, many of which are notorious for litter, garbage, sewage and rats.

A pilot programme kicked off in Pazundaung and Lanmadaw townships on 15 August.

Khin Maung Win, a Rangoon regional parliament MP, said, “Actually it is not the duty of the YCDC to clean up our alleys. In fact, people should not be throwing garbage in alleyways in the first place. But some negligent members of the public keep doing it, and large piles of garbage are being created.

“This is very unsanitary and can lead to the outbreak of diseases,” he added.

The YCDC said the clean-up work will take several months as municipal workers will have to deal with the garbage that has been piling up in the alleys, in some cases for decades. It warned the public that the municipality will only undertake this clean-up effort once, and after that the onus will be on citizens to take responsibility for the alleyways in their respective neighbourhoods.

Speaking to DVB, YCDC’s Than Myint Aung said, “The mayor joined us as we set about clearing up an alleyway as a test run. While we were doing that, someone dropped a huge bag of garbage into the alley from one of the apartments above.

“Our secretary picked it up and took it upstairs to find out who was responsible. But of course no one admitted to doing it. This is what we are faced with. People must join with us and adopt a sense of responsibility.”