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Phuket environment chief warns of poor hazardous waste disposal habits

PHUKET: The Director of the Phuket-based Regional Environment Office 15 has called on officials to remind residents in their areas to properly dispose of “hazardous waste”, including car batteries, pesticides and light bulbs.

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The Phuket News

Thursday 17 August 2017, 05:50PM


Dr Pornsri warned that toxins created by burning hazardous waste may harm people's health. Photo: PR Dept

“Phuket has a good waste disposal system, but there is still a hidden danger. Some kinds of garbage contains harmful contaminants, especially chemicals. These are hazardous wastes,” explained Dr Pornsri Sutthanarak at a meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 16).

“For example spray cans, car batteries, pesticides, and light bulbs are very dangerous because they contains heavy metals, including manganese, lead and mercury, and so on. If not correctly disposed of, it will certainly affect the health of people and ecosystems.”

“If a product is hazardous it should be clear on the product labels. These toxins may affect people in health, water and air pollution when burned in the incinerator. The most common product is the light bulb,” she said.

Dr Pornsri called on people to bring hazardous wastes to collection centres.

“Each municipality is responsible for the hazardous waste collection of its area,” she said, adding that in order to deal with hazardous waste, Phuket introduced waste management system under the “Thailand no waste” campaign, initiating hazardous waste collection units located within every municipal area in Phuket.

“Local authorities collect hazardous waste from each municipal office and transport it to the main hazardous waste collection centre at Phuket Town Municipality Office.

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“For businesses, shops, hotels and so on, hazardous waste can be taken directly to the main hazardous waste collection centre at the Phuket City Municipality offices. A waste fee of B22 per kilogram will be charged. This hazardous waste will be collected by private contractors and taken to the main centre where it will be disposed of correctly,” she added.
“At present, Phuket is struggling to safely dispose of hazardous waste, because the people have not acquired the habit of separating waste. People are still in the habit of throwing everything away together as general waste,” Dr Pornsri noted.

“A growing awareness of garbage is the best starting point for people to work together in reducing and sorting it, as well as recycling containers and packaging,” she said.

“Some things can be recycled in a useful way. It is one effective way to reduce the amount of waste in the future,” she added.

Dr Pornsri also pointed out that the volume of garbage brought to the Saphan Hin incinerators each day has increased by 7% since last year.

“Currently about 865.59 tons of waste is brought to the Saphan Hin incinerators each day,” she said.

However, the current burn rate of the incinerators is under full capacity while “adjustments” are being carried out, Dr Pornsri explained, but added, “These adjustments will enable the incinerators to handle up to 950 tons of waste per day.”

 

 

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malczx7r | 19 August 2017 - 12:35:45

I was at Don Meuang recently and there are separate  bins for rubbish and re-cycled items.  The cleaner came round to empty the bins and put both lots of stuff in the same bag! haha

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vegasbaby | 18 August 2017 - 21:58:56

It's good to care about the environment.  The first step should be to connect all the guesthouses, businesses and homes to a sufficient and fully functioning sewage treatment system.  Currently, many are not connected and simply drain their raw sewage into the sea. 

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Kurt | 18 August 2017 - 18:54:21

Hazardous waste disposal collection?
Keep it simple. Oblige shops/shopping centers which sell batteries, light bulbs, etc. new to collect for free the disposed ones.

Making collection complicated with far away collection points and than also charge (!) for it is a wrong start.

No local shall bring empty batteries to city offices and even pay for it.
Collection ( free of charge) at shops were they buy new, that is logic.
Otherwise all the hazardous stuff still ends in road ditches or canals, and with other household trash in incinerators.

To charge people to make them environment protective thinking is a wrong signal. ( sure for people who just earn 300 thb per day only)

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BenPendejo | 18 August 2017 - 15:01:49

Phuket/Thailand cannot manage it's regular waste, let alone identifying, collecting, separating and properly disposing of hazardous wastes.  I would wager to bet that almost nobody has an idea where these "hazardous waste collection areas" are that are supposedly set up in each municipality.  I know that the burning of plastics, rubber and anything else that someone bothers to pick up is done on a regular basis all over this island, and not one public awareness effort has been put forth to teach these people that fumes emitted from burning these materials is hazardous to their health, with much of it releasing emissions that are top carcinogens.  In fact, burning seems to be a national pastime, with complete disregard as to how that burning might effect neighbors and the surrounding community.  Phuket is YEARS behind the western world when it comes to waste management.  Most people here, including officials, just don't want to hear about it.

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Kurt | 18 August 2017 - 11:24:42

Christy Sweet:  You are right.  It are all statements and dead end policy announcement, to justify a job, and a photo article in newspaper.
Any given phone number provided to public by Phuket officials doesn't work, and when it works they drop the phone when they hear a non-thai speaking.

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Christy Sweet | 17 August 2017 - 19:25:36

What's missing is a phone number or email to report violations that will somehow be answered.  I called that office over a year ago to report a worker camp dumping in the Layan Wetlands. Absolutely  nothing happened.

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