EuroCham Myanmar Responsible Business Initiative (EMRBI) successfully launched its first event of breakfast talk series by hosting a talk on how to address air pollution at Novotel Yangon Max on July 10 to echo the World Environment Day. The EMRBI is EuroCham Myanmar’s platform to promote the best of European responsible business practices and values. Every year, air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths worldwide, including 22,000 people in Myanmar, according to the World Health Organization. For this reason, the United Nations chose air pollution as the theme of this year’s World Environment Day.
Deputy Head of the Environmental Conservation and Cleaning Department of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), Dr Aung Myint Maw, delivered the presentation about level of participation by YCDC despite having challenges in preparing measureable data. It has permanent air quality monitors around City Hall, Hledan Junction and Mingalardon Administrative Office. In addition, they have 64 mobile stations in industrial zones, public area, parks, and disposal sites, among others. Data collections are taking place from 2016 to 2020, in order to create a data record and analyse the improvement or deterioration of the air quality.
Representatives from some major industries including energy, telco and garment exchanged ideas about initiatives, strategies and realistic scenarios that would be most effective in solving the problems of air pollution and energy efficiency in terms of panel discussion. It was moderated by Marc de la Fouchardière, Deputy Director EuroCham Myanmar and speakers included Min Thu Aung, Head of Business Sustainability and Special Projects of Telenor Myanmar; Nyan Win Thu, Health, Safety and Environment Manager of Total E&P Myanmar; Mr. Nikesh Raj, Environment Sustainability Program Responsible of H&M and Dr Axel Harneit-Sievers, Country Director of Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Some of the topics covered were the opportunities to explore renewable energy and green technologies, the Myanmar Energy Master Plan, the recent increase in electricity prices, Yangon traffic, agricultural burning or the alternatives in solid fuels for domestic use.
The breakfast talk also featured a photo exhibition launched by the European Union delegation in Myanmar with the objective of raising awareness of the sources of air pollution and steps that can be taken to tackle them. Moreover, Connect University students presented the air quality measurement devices constructed by themselves.