Mayor’s trash-tigation: Chalong clamps down on waste disposal after viral aerial reveal

Photo taken from The Phuket News

The mayor of Chalong has enforced a swift ban on any further waste disposal at a three-rai site in Baan Khoktanod, Moo 9, Chalong, following the spread of an aerial image of the site on social media. The image, first shared by the Facebook page Monsoon Garbage Thailand, prompted immediate action from local authorities.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew assigned Thanaporn Ongsantiphap, and Muang District Chief Phairot Srilamul to inspect the area opposite Wat Ladthi Wanaram (Wat Tai) on Chao Fa East Rd. Upon examining the site, Mayor Thanaporn promptly had “No Dumping” signs posted to prevent the situation from worsening.

Despite the land seemingly being privately owned, the Chalong Municipality possesses the authority to ban the dumping of waste in the area. This is due to it constituting a public nuisance, a violation punishable by law.

Srilamul said…

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“As for the waste that is still in the area, we must discuss with the area owner how to manage it so that the existing waste doesn’t distress the local people.”

Thanaporn added…

“Chalong Municipality has contacted the person in charge of the area, who has shared information that they will contact the actual landowner soon. We will invite them to join in planning and finding solutions together with Chalong Municipality. This is necessary, as the news has impacted Phuket Province’s tourism image.”

The mayor also emphasized that a clear discussion is required to decide on the operational expenses for waste disposal and landfilling.

“The fundamental solution must be to prohibit additional waste from being dumped. Chalong Municipality has posted notices. If anyone violates this ban, they will be prosecuted according to the law.”

Pracha Srimuang, a member of the Baan Khoktanode Community Committee, pointed out that much of the waste dumped at the site was scrapped construction materials used to elevate the land. He confirmed that it did not emit a disturbing smell or cause water pollution.

Kokchai Sae-Ung, village headman of Moo 9, Chalong, confirmed that the land was privately owned. Permission had been granted last year to use scrapped construction materials to elevate the site. A fire at the site earlier this year had caused concern, prompting local firefighters to intervene and a subsequent ban on additional waste disposal.

Kokchai also refuted claims that the photos circulating online were recent.

“The pictures seen today, released by the mass media all over the country and in Phuket, are old pictures.”

Kokchai assured that municipality officers and community leaders regularly inspect the site to ensure no waste is disposed of, thus preventing distress to residents, reports The Phuket News.

He also clarified that what might seem like floating garbage could be rubble and cement.

“There’s been no smell here since April 2023. There will be no additional dumping and disposal of waste. After ordering the closure of this pond, there has been no smell, no spoilage, no pollution, no smoke, no fires. It all stopped in April 2023.”

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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