Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program continues to expand, this time with a new chapter in Ngapali, Myanmar. The Ngapali Chapter has now completed one month, exceeding their original target KG of plastic waste, which they’ve already increased twice!
Myanmar’s first POP chapter, which began on September 1st, has completed one month. Within just the first week, our team collected more than 5 tons of plastic and more than 8 tons of waste in total, with an appalling amount of nylon fishing nets as the main waste source.
This first week more than 20 people participated in the cleanups, helping to collect more than double the original target KG of plastic waste. Following this, the POP crew upped their target from 10 000 KG to 15 000 KG of plastic waste per month. But still the waste kept piling up. Eventually, POP Myanmar increased its target number again, aiming to collect 20 000 KG of plastic each month. The Ngapali chapter alone now aims to collect a total of 80 000 KG of plastic waste by the end of 2022, making a huge impact both for Myanmar and the ocean in general. Furthermore, the chapter will make an important contribution to POP reaching and maybe even exceeding its goal of 150 000 KG of plastic waste by the end of 2022.
Waste management problems
So far the Ngapali chapter has covered 7 different cleanup sites, with Gyeiktaw Beach as the focal point. Gyeiktaw Beach suffers from a lack of regular waste collection systems, as it is a fishing beach without any hotels picking up trash. This results in plastic piling up on the shore, with nylon fishing nets as the main villain. Floating in the sea, these nets entangle all sorts of wildlife. Eventually, they wash ashore as heaps of plastic waste mixed with dead fish and other marine inhabitants, polluting the beautiful beaches and shorelines. Sadly, this waste management crisis currently applies to most beaches in Myanmar, due to ongoing political conflict.
POP’s Myanmar chapter comes at a good time, with unemployment levels on the rise and waste management almost non-existent. Ngapali’s Plastic Offset Program has made a significant impact already, not only in reducing plastic pollution but also in support the fundamental livelihood problems of local residents.
POP Myanmar waste distribution
The picture shows beach waste sorted after one of the Myanmar cleanups. Fishing nets are a clear winner, almost overflowing the railing (to the right.)
- Fishing nets.
- Single-use plastic bags.
- Others: recyclable PPE and glass bottles, cans, ropes, and shoes.
Unfortunately, none of this garbage can be recycled yet, as effective recycling methods are currently lacking in Myanmar. There used to be a recycling factory in Ngapali, but it is closed due to power outages, high gasoline prices, and technical problems. As a result, we are still searching for a suitable, sustainable end station.
More chapters coming
Our POP team is doing a great job in Myanmar, not only with the ongoing chapter but also with preparing for further expansion. Their hard work gives frequent results, ensuring a new launch no later than November this year in Nqwe Saung. Nqwe Saung Chapter is aiming on collecting 5000 KG of plastic a month. Thus, POP Myanmar is aiming for a total of 90 000 KG of Plastic waste by the end of this year. And the Myanmar expansion won’t end here, by the end of 2023, our Plastic Offset Program aims to include 5 chapters throughout Myanmar!