Thirty-four volunteers joined the 19th Clean Yangon, Green Yangon Project on Saturday morning to pick up the garbage on the street. This project started with the concept “Clean city cleans [the] heart”.
The event, organized by HerBEST Asia Co.Ltd, is held in Yangon once a month. Everyone in Yangon can join in this volunteer activity. This time it took place on Bo Yar Nyunt Rd and lasted for one hour.
Yuriko Murakami, the organizer, comes from Japan and arrived in Yangon 2 years ago. She decided to hold the activity after noticing Yangon City was messy. She believes that “Clean city also cleans somebody’s heart”.
“We usually clean inside the house. We are a housekeeping company. Then I thought why don’t we clean not only inside the house but also in Yangon City,” she said, “In other developed countries, all the cities are much cleaner. I want to improve the situation of Myanmar. I think even if it is a small thing, it will accelerate the development of Myanmar.”
Murakami is surprised at the gap in Myanmar people’s attitudes towards people and the environment. “When I see Myanmar people, they are very kind-hearted and honest. They believe in Buddhism and they are people who love volunteering.” She said, “But at the same time, people are unwilling to put garbage in the dustbin. Their city is still dirty. I’m surprised at that.”
Murakami thought the unsatisfactory sanitary conditions is not because of their heart but their customs. For this reason, she started this activity to send the message to Myanmar people that “clean is better”.
According to Murakami, once she and her partners collected the rubbish at the Central Station, they were stopped by the local cleaners. The cleaners thought they were “stealing their work”. She said that maybe Myanmar people thought it good to drop litter because it could provide more jobs.
Murakami said this activity would be good for the people in Yangon. They could get together to know each other. “We will send a strong message to the local people that cleaning is fun.”
Yin Yin, who has participated in this activity more than ten times, was impressed by the change over two years. “We need to clean a lot of rubbish in the street before and right now there is less,” she said, “When I collected rubbish for the first time, the local people didn’t care about it. They just told me to go and take it. However, now when I pick it up before them, they will say that they could take it by themselves. You see, it’s changing.”