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Despite current challenges in Myanmar, Tha Bar Wa continues to support the food and beverage (F&B) industry to instill cleaner production practices - assisting with wastewater treatment plant installation, consulting and assessing energy efficiency, and helping businesses to access the ‘green finance’ investments they need to apply these practices.
The latest success stories come from potato snack manufacturer, Three Sisters, and local bakery El Dorado of the Divine Food Garden Industry Co., Ltd. Both have now installed wastewater treatment plants in their factories.
The owner of El Dorado, Daw Ohn Ohn Myint, began her association with Tha Bar Wa back in 2019. Through her membership in the Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association (MFPEA), she learned of Tha Bar Wa’s work and joined a wastewater treatment training session. Daw Ohn Ohn Myint continued to follow the project’s activities, taking part in more coordination meetings, before deciding to start on her journey of wastewater treatment plant development with Tha Bar Wa.
“After attending the training, I became interested in installing a proper wastewater treatment system for my business because it would help me comply with Myanamr’s National Emission Guidelines. These guidelines protect both human and ecosystem health from the consequences of water, air and other pollution. I also realised we need to protect these resources, our air, water and this earth where we all live. I shared with my customers that I want to lessen the negative impact on the environment in order to care for their health, and not just deliver good food. By doing this, I am proud of my bakery as a responsible business,” shared Daw Ohn Ohn Myint.
Dr Mu Mu Htay, Tha Bar Wa project manager, said “With one more company in the F&B industry installing a wastewater treatment plant, a further 15 cubic metres of wastewater will no longer flush into public drains every day. This reduces pollution and helps compliance with emission guidelines.”
Tha Bar Wa has been working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from seven sub-sectors of the F&B industry, across three regions of Yangon, Mandalay and Ayeyarwady. The project has now conducted factory assessments of wastewater management in 24 SMEs and energy management in 19 SMEs. To date it has developed and provided 11 designs for wastewater treatment plants, with seven factories already completing installation. A dedicated portal on Environmental Management, providing information on green and clean production practices, also launched in 2021.
The Tha Bar Wa project is funded by the European Union under the SWITCH-Asia Programme. It promotes cleaner production within the food and beverage industry by promoting wastewater treatment plants, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. It also supported financial institutions to offer banking products designed specifically for cleaner production.
Recent research by WWF’s Asia-Pacific office showed a 74% increase in Facebook posts selling wildlife items in Myanmar between 2020 and 2021.
Tha Bar Wa project developed the sector specific Environmental Management Plan (EMP) checklist and guidance with the support of an international consultant, in order to assist small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in food and beverage (F&B) sector in preparing and implementing effective EMPs.
The paper seeks to share lessons learned from the project and advance sustainability finance in the region.
It would be part of a campaign called ‘Voices for Rivers’. Mohinga, the nation’s favourite dish and one that always features fish, was the perfect entry point. Without healthy rivers, there would be no mohinga.