The Mon State Hluttaw has had enough with trash piling up around Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. The assembly approved a proposal urging the state government to lend a hand in managing the pilgrimage site to ensure it stays clean.
The proposal, submitted by MP U Aung Naing Oo on December 8, was approved on December 12.
“The main essence of this proposal is for the state government to assist the Pagoda Board of Trustees, since [the latter] is having difficulty keeping the pagoda platform and surrounding areas free of garbage,” U Aung Naing Oo said.
He suggested that engineers and experts from the Forestry Department could assist the pagoda’s board by allocating a budget to tackle the garbage problem, which has ballooned in recent years due to rising numbers of visitors and vendors.
According to MPs, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda receives two tons of garbage per day. Due to a lack of adequate waste collection facilities at the pagoda, trash tends to be disposed either on the sides of Kyaikhtiyo Mountain or by burning it, both of which are detrimental to the environment.
Previous requests for some sort of government intervention have yielded little in the way of results.
“It’s been one year since we asked the municipality to help us with the garbage. It still hasn’t worked out. So we will have to do it on our own,” said Mon State Chief Minister U Aye Zan.
Under the pagoda board’s administration, nearby gift shops and restaurants dump garbage with in three locations: behind the Board of Trustees’ office, behind the parking lot, or down the side of Moet Soe Hill.
The chief minister explained that the gift shops and restaurants are allowed in Kyaikhtiyo area under the board of trustees’ arrangement and they are supervised by the shop committee.
According to the state minister for planning, finance, immigration and population, entrance fees from Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda contributed K2.96 billion (US$2 million) to the state’s coffers between November 2013 and 2017. An additional K255 million ($166,000) in income and commercial taxes from nearby businesses was added to the Union budget last year, the minster said.