Working Paper

Working Paper

[Working Paper] Municipal Solid Waste Management

  • 2019-10-31
  • Naushawng Development Institute

Editor's Note

The EAI has provided ongoing research and institutional assistance to the strengthening of Myanmar civil society organizations since 2015 with the support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In 2019, Myanmar partner organizations established Myanmar Democracy Research Network (MDRN) and conducted a joint public opinion survey on Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC)’s public services. This series of reports is compiled as a part of the “Strengthening Civil Society Organizations in Myanmar Year Three” program. As the second paper of the series, Naushawng Development Institute (NDI) published “Municipal Solid Waste Management”. As more people live in urban areas and the income level increases, higher amounts of daily waste leads waste management as one of the biggest challenges for Yangon City. NDI, by using the result of the 2019 MDRN Survey, assesses public awareness of municipal solid waste management and examines public perspectives on the quality and performance of municipal solid waste services. The authors argue that there is ample room for YCDC to improve its waste management system and give six policy recommendations.




Solid waste may be defined as “useless, unused, unwanted, or discarded material available in solid form.” Semisolid food wastes and municipal sludge may also be included in municipal solid waste. However, in Myanmar waste management means the management of waste from all human and animals activities which is normally useless or unwanted (MDRN, 2015). Today, solid waste is a major problem facing many societies (Singh, Gupta, and Chaudhary, 2014).

In Yangon city, normally, residents produce 1,690 tons by day (TPD) of municipal waste is generated from the households, commercial centres, institutions, and industries, with a rate of 0.396kg per capita per day. Since the municipality does not collect this waste separately, but instead carries all waste from households, institutions, and industry together on the same truck, the waste has not been separated. Although some households, institutions, and commercial enterprises separate their waste, all waste is finally mixed on the collection trucks, and disposed together in final dumping sites. (MDRN, 2015). 

Yangon City is situated in the Yangon Region and is the largest city in Myanmar. There are forty-six townships in the Yangon Region and thirty-three townships in Yangon City proper. The population of Yangon City totals 5.2 million (5,209,541), representing 70.8% of the entire population in the Yangon Region. According to the 2014 Myanmar population and housing census, the population density of the Yangon Region was 716 people per square kilometer. The population density of the Yangon Region increased from 310 persons per square kilometer in 1973 to 387 persons per square kilometer in 1983, and again to 716 persons per square kilometer in 2014 (UNFPA, 2015).

As urban population growth and increased income levels have generated higher amounts of daily waste, waste management is becoming one of the biggest challenges for Yangon City. According to the World Population Review, the population of Yangon went from half a million in 1941 to over one million less than ten years later, an increase of 160%. It is expected to reach 5.3 million in 2020 and 5.9 million in 2025 with an annual population growth rate of 22.3% (World Population Review, 2019). In 2016, a study done by UN Habitat and the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) showed that the total waste generation was 2,069 metric tons per day and is expected to increase further. Estimates predict that the daily waste generation in Yangon will reach 3,906 metric tons per day in 2026 and 7,444 metric tons in 2036 (YCDC, 2018).

Thus, the YCDC Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing plays a crucial role in planning and managing suitable waste collection and disposal systems in its taxed townships and wards.

The aims of this public opinion research survey are:

  • To assess public awareness of municipal solid waste management
  • To understand public perspectives on the quality and performance of municipal solid waste services
  • To explore public expectations of the YCDC with regard to solid waste management system
  • To recommend strategies and identify areas for improvement


Table of Contents

This paper is organized in nine parts as follows:

1. Introduction

2.  Overall Assessment of Yangon City’s Cleanliness

3. Public Practices on and Awareness of Waste Disposal

4. Waste Disposal in Public Areas

5. Quality and Performance of YCDC’s Solid Waste Management

6. Common Problems in Daily Waste Disposal

7. Public Expectations of YCDC Services

8. Public Suggestions on Improving YCDC Services

9. Conclusion and Recommendations



Naushawng Development Institute (NDI) is an independent, non-profit education and development organization founded on April 9th2009 by Kachin scholars committed to strengthening democracy and community development in northern Myanmar. NDI contributes to democratic transition, peace building and sustainable development in Myanmar through training; education; advocacy; research and policy development analysis, as well as networking.