The news was delivered directly to Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana during an inspection visit to the Phuket Solid Waste Incineration Plant – the only solid waste disposal centre on the island – yesterday (Oct 29).
“On average, from October 2017 through September 2018, about 925 tons of waste was delivered every day,” Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana explained.
Although the waste facility is operated by Phuket City Municipality, it receives waste delivered from local administrations all across the island, Mayor Somjai noted.
The facility also receives waste delivered by private organisations, she added.
“The statistics show that the amount of waste is increasing every year. This because Phuket has more tourists visiting each year and it affects the amount of waste,” Mayor Somjai said.
“And this is despite a campaign to separate waste at the source to reduce the volume of solid waste to be disposed. Even with this, the amount of waste is still increasing,” she said.
The waste delivered includes organic materials, and has hazardous materials separated to be sent to an appropriate disposal facility “out of the province”. The rest is assigned to be incinerated, Mayor Somjai said.
However, excess waste that the facility’s two incinerators in operation cannot handle are dispatched to the landfills at the site.
“Today, there are five landfills, and the fifth – and last – landfill is nearly full,” Mayor Somjai said.
The municipality has a plan to counter the growing mounds of trash, but that plan has been “struck by many problems”, she explained to Gov Phakaphong.
“Phuket Municipality has also hired a team from a university to study and analyse the possibility to having the private sector help solve this problem,” she said.
Earlier this year, Chakkrit Songsaeng, the manager of the waste facility, explained to The Phuket News that the municipality had lonf failed to secure funds for a much-needed third incinerator in order to stave off the return of the huge piles of garbage at the landfill at Saphan Hin.
“Two incinerators are working right now, and they can burn 700 tons per day combined,” Mr Chakkrit said in March. “But in the high season, the volume of the waste arriving can even reach more than 1,000 tons per day.”
Mr Chakkrit explained that the very first incinerator installed at the plant, which could burn of up to 250 tons of garbage a day, had been working for 17 years, but stopped working in 2012.
“This project would cost B530mn to repair the first incinerator to operate again,” he said. (See story here.)
Gov Phakkaphong, who arrived in the island only on Oct 1, offered no solutions.
However, he said, “The waste problem is an important issue for a tourism city. We must have good management planning and the need to educate the public seriously to reduce the amount of waste generated.”