The back alleys of downtown Yangon are famous for being dirty, rat-infested, full of trash and generally unliveable. But Yangon-based organisation Doh Eain is systematically working to restore them, and turn them into clean & green spaces. Or, at least, slightly cleaner, slightly greener.
We’re working with Doh Eain and their sponsoring organisation Building Markets, to test bokashi composting of food waste in a couple of these back alleys in downtown. The project started in September 2019.
The basic setup is that each of the two alleys has a Waste Station Manager, a local guy who is employed a couple of hours per day to receive food waste from residents, and transfer it to bokashi barrels using our normal methods. Some 80 households signed up, but only a third are active on a daily basis. What we’ve learnt is that more training and motivation is needed to make this work at household level. So while the pilot project is working on a technical level, it needs more social energy to succeed on a larger scale. Which is, of course, doable.
Some of the filled bokashi barrels are transferred to our bokashi yard for composting, others are transformed onsite in what we call urban composters (which are basically rain barrels where we mix compost and bokashi kitchen waste) — after a couple of weeks we have compost soil that the neighbours love to use in their gardens.
So this is very much a work in progress, but an interesting one which has the potential to change completely the way we see inner city waste. It’s not trash — it’s treasure!