Connect with us


Opinion: Time to tackle Phuket’s ever-growing trash dumps

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: We started 2015 with breaking news of a “private” dump site in coastal Kamala (story here), which is still serving as a pungent reminder that Phuket’s waste disposal problems remain a dire threat to the island’s future. Now, as everyone returns to work and the year begins in earnest, we must face the fact that current strategies are not working – an overhaul is needed in how we think and deal with the waste generated by our ever-growing population.

The relative merits of waste-to-power incineration aside, continual addition of capacity at the Saphan Hin plant is not a long-term, sustainable solution.

The need to truck all of the island’s garbage through the narrow streets of Phuket Town to reach the facility is hugely expensive, worsens traffic congestion and leaves our streets covered with putrid swill – another turn off for tourists.

The fact that the facility and the landfill that surrounds it are adjacent to the island’s most popular public park is as hard to fathom as to why it was built on top of a mangrove forest.

Phuket’s growing population, plus the fact that the majority of residents and visitors seem to be brainwashed by a capitalist culture of over-consumption, is a big part of the problem.

Cleaning up after oneself is a skill that should be engrained in all people from the youngest possible age, thus preparing them to become responsible, civic-minded adults – the kind that limit their negative impact on the environment.

Sadly, for most people growing up in our country, training in how to keep things tidy typically ends at the family property line. It is this mentality that makes illegal dump sites so common here, even as the island continues to brand itself as a “tropical island paradise”.

The lame official response to the crisis in Kamala is just the latest example of a lack of leadership where it is needed most: solid waste disposal at local and community levels.

The official involved responded in typical fashion by saying “we are working on it” and “we don’t yet know who owns the land”, as if such information is somehow unattainable.

Kamala and Patong suffered more damage from the 2004 tsunami disaster than any other jurisdictions on the island, yet managed to eventually recover and dispose of enormous amounts of debris without creating putrid, coastal landfills that conjure up dystopian images of mountains of garbage like those depicted in the 2006 film Idiocracy.

Whatever its exact origins, the Kamala dump site has shown us once again what invariably happens when local island administrations do not nip dumping problems in the bud before the piling-on effect kicks in.

Each local administrative body should have cost-effective systems in place that force people to separate toxic waste from the main waste stream, while re-using and recycling waste as much as possible. Unfortunately, as this most recent debacle demonstrates, there is still a long, long way to go.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World3 mins ago

Insect snacks hit Japanese vending machines

Thailand25 mins ago

The Return of ‘THE TIM’ | Thaiger Bites | September 20

Coronavirus (Covid-19)50 mins ago

Monday Covid Update: 12,709 new cases; provincial totals

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand58 mins ago

Pattaya laundry shop reports ladies’ underwear thief is on the loose

World2 hours ago

Hanoi to ease Covid restrictions this week

Thailand3 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Government believes more suspects involved in theft from budget meant for the disabled

Thailand4 hours ago

Dual Pricing and Reduced tax on Alcohol | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 92

Thailand4 hours ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok5 hours ago

Bangkok residents warned of flooding risk as torrential rain forecast this week

Thailand5 hours ago

Government seeks to regulate infectious waste disposal charges

World5 hours ago

Manny Pacquiao to run for president of the Philippines

Economy6 hours ago

Cuts to import duty on alcohol, cigars, part of plan to entice wealthy foreigners

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Phuket officials launch mass testing campaign in high-risk communities

Thailand7 hours ago

DDC plans to vaccinate 1 million people a day starting Friday

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11