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Phuket’s men of the cloth in plastic purgatory

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s men of the cloth in plastic purgatory | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: With the landfill at Saphan Hin continuing to pile up at the alarming rate of about 300 tonnes of waste per day, the provincial government hopes a new campaign promoting the use of cloth bags will help cut down the waste stream until a second incinerator is completed.

The island’s sole incinerator, built and operated by Phuket City Municipality but responsible for all of the island’s waste, can process just 250 tonnes per day.

Phuket now produces an average of 540 tonnes of waste daily, so the 290 tonnes that can’t be burned must be added to the landfill.

The overburdened landfill now has four-meter-high berms surrounding it to contain all the extra garbage – and more is coming.

Phuket will produce 800 tonnes of garbage per day within five years, according to official estimates.

The growing volume of garbage has already caused one ecological disaster.

In June 2007, heavy rains caused a highly toxic plume of water from plastic-lined leaching ponds to enter surrounding mangroves and waterways, killing millions of farmed fish.

Stench from the pile has also made residents of the nearby Ban Saphan Hin miserable, especially on days when onshore winds blow the stench straight into their community.

Help is on the way, but a new 600 tonne per day incinerator planned nearby won’t open until October 2010, at the earliest.

In the meantime, Phuket is facing a garbage crisis.

But the province has a new weapon in the fight to reduce the amount of garbage it generates: the cloth bag.

This week Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop launched a campaign to encourage island residents to swap their plastic bags for re-usable cloth carriers.

The project, run by Phuket Provincial Energy Office (PPEO), is being branded with the name ‘Phuket Green Island’.

PPEO director Jirasak Thommayet said the ambitious project aims to reduce the volume of plastic bags used in Phuket by 60 percent, equivalent to 5,000 tonnes per year.

“We need to take care of our island, starting by reducing the number of plastic bags we use and replacing them with cloth,” he said.

Cloth bags will be promoted with posters showing the governor – one hand clutching a cloth bag, the other giving the ‘thumbs up’ – above the message: ‘Let’s use cloth bags together’.

The project will include asking local businesses to offer discounts to customers who use cloth bags rather than plastic.

“We’re also asking local government organizations to provide budgets to make cloth bags for Phuket villagers,” Mr Jirasak said.

— Atchaa Khamlo



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Phuket

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest

The Thaiger

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Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Department of National Parks

Officers from of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area have helped in the release of a slow loris back into the wild yesterday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reports that the head of Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, Pongchart Chueahom, yesterday released the slow loris to the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Are in Thalang.

The slow loris was found near a furniture factory in Thalang last week. It was being treated at a pet hospital before being handed over to Khun Pongchart when it was ready to be set free.

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy

The Thaiger

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Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy | The Thaiger

A floating seastead has today been towed by a naval vessel back to the Port of Phuket in Cape Panwa. Meanwhile the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam is challenging the owners and builders of the structure to take the Thai Government and Navy to the International Court of Justice.

The Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet ventured out with a group of reporters on Saturday to inspect the floating seastead, the first of about 20 planned Ocean Builders for the open waters about 22km from Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai.

Nothing valuable was found on board the octagon-shaped steel and aluminium structure which was attached to a floating platform.

Two vessels were used in today’s operation. The living quarters were detached and placed on the first vessel and the second towed the floating platform to the shore for safe keeping pending legal action against its owner as well as the builder, Ocean Builders Company.

Dr. Wissanu said yesterday that Thai authorities were authorised to remove or dismantle the floating housing unit with or without the consent of its owner after finding the structure could pose a threat to Thai national security and sovereignty in accordance with Article 119 of the Criminal Code.

He said that the structure also posed an obstacle to vessels and was located not far from an oil rig.

Regarding the threat by Ocean Builders Company to sue the Thai government in the International Court of Justice for the removal, the deputy PM says he welcomes the move, noting that no government anywhere would allow a seastead settlement near their maritime territory.

Seasteader Chad Andrew Edwartowski and his Thai wife, Mrs. Nadia Summergirl, are wanted by the Thai police for questioning after Thai immigration revoked the American’s non-immigrant visa and blacklisted him.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung

The Thaiger

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Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phattalung Rescue

Two people have sustained serious injuries after a Phuket taxi slammed into a tree in Phattalung last night.

Phattalung rescue workers were notified of the accident in Mueang Pattalung District at 7.57pm last night (Sunday).

They arrived at the scene to find the Phuket registered taxi resting in front of the big tree on the side of the road near a temple. The front of the vehicle had extensive damage following the collision.

The two people who sustained serious injuries were 58 year old Wanchai Srithong and 64 year old Jamras Srithong. They were both taken to the Phattalung Hospital.

Pattalung City Police are continuing their investigation. There has been no explanation given at this stage as to why a Phuket taxi was in Phattalung.

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger

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