Sep 29, 2018
'Clean Yangon Green Yangon' Street Clean-Up
Facebook Page : Clean Yangon Green Yangon
Date : Saturday, Sep 29 2018, 08:00am - 09:00am
Location: in front of Craft Cafe, Yangon, Myanmar
Street Clean Up
I saw an event in Yangon about cleaning-up the streets. This is a good way to immerse myself into the culture, meet people and do something for the community. I help clean-up coastal areas, why not streets? Of course I signed-up!
A Japanese Initiative
This is a monthly event on it 16th clean-up drive. It is organized by a Japanese and most of the participants (except me and a few locals) were Japanese students. I was grouped with 2 other Japanese guys - we were a crew as we got into conversation while picking-up trash. One is here learning to speak Burmese and the other one is here to study Myanmar culture and history. They added that not much is known about Myanmar and they wanted to know more.
We were given gloves, tongs and a plastic sack. I noticed that Yangon's streets are actually clean to begin with. Sure, we picked-up garbage but they were not exactly the typical garbage you see in other capitals of Asia. Mostly, we picked-up cigarette butts and small litter.
Cleaning-up is a noble cause that helps the environment. As an environmentalist, I try to get involved. But like all clean-ups I've attended, there is this conundrum knowing that the people who throw their trash will continue to do so...and we do the clean-up again. The cycle repeats itself. Sure, a clean-up drive increases awareness about trash management, but it only influences those who are already converted. The people who throw their trash are unaffected. Again, I have to say that the best approach to a clean-up drive is through proper education of those who need to be aware. But this requires a strong political will. Will authorities 'shame' litterbugs by making them do a full day clean-up themselves when caught? Again, it takes more than dedicated idealists like the ones who participated in this clean-up to make it happen. It's a community effort.
I applaud these Japanese who chose to immerse themselves into cultural and social interaction by cleaning up the streets. There are many ways to build community - language meet-up in a bar or cafe (nothing wrong with that) or pick-up garbage and talk along.
As a lone traveler, I get this privilege to join any community project that resonates with me. I get to be productive, meet people and also be useful. There are many other activities in Yangon and with my remaining time, I hope to get involved in those whose cause come closest to mine.
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Yangon (city), Myanmar
Yangon International Airport
How to Get to Downtown Yangon from the Yangon International Airport (RGN)
- take the shuttle bus from Airport to Downtown Yangon, it costs MMK 500. It passes through the main artery of Yangon.
Yangon Travel Tips
- useful site: Wiki Travel Yangon
USEFUL INFORMATION(as of Jan 2020)
Myanmar FYI / Travel Tips
- accommodation - not all destinations in Myanmar can accommodate foreign travelers. Walk-in hotel guests could be refused. Better make an online booking, or make sure the hotel you wish to stay, at is listed in the online booking sites (Agoda, Booking.com, etc.)
- local time - adjust time 30 mins behind from Thailand (if arriving from Thailand)
- Burmese people - Burmese people are new to what's happening to Myanmar - being opened-up to the rest of the world. They remain friendly, helpful and curious. Tourism being new, the culture is not yet corrupted by it.
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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