Connect with us


Solving Samui’s rubbish problem

Tanutam Thawan



Opinion by Su Buchanan, Samui Times

Fully funded green energy project could solve Samui’s garbage problem but will the Surat Thani Governor allow it?

The escalating garbage problem in Koh Samui is no secret. Since the incinerator broke down over 8 years ago the piles of untreated garbage now tops 300,000 tons. The damage to the environment is undeniable yet the local government seems totally uninterested in dealing with the problem, despite orders from Surat Thani to take action.

However, as desperate as the situation has become there may be a long-term solution in sight. The Samui Times was recently contacted by Ron Carter, the Director for U.S Operations Green Phoenix Energy, Inc who said “We have been trying to bring our “Fully Funded” green energy project to Thailand and particularly to Koh Samui. The FEWS RE-Plant can not only produce green energy, but it can handle “All” the waste produced on the island. From municipal waste (landfill and trash), sewage treatment and even medical waste, without burning it and putting all the toxins into the air. The FEWS RE-Plant also produces 200,000 to 300,000 Gallons of drinking water per day and add to that we also produce hundreds of tons of fish and fruits and vegetables yearly and creating a lot of local jobs.”

When we asked Ron why he wanted to get involved with the escalating garbage disposal problem in Koh Samui and who he had approached when trying to develop an interest in the project he said, “There are two main reasons. From a personal level, I’ve been interested in Thailand and Thai culture for the last 15 years or so. My goal and intention are to move to Thailand within the next 3-4 years. If GPE were to build a FEWS RE-Plant I would get to move much sooner to oversee this initial FEWS RE-Plant and work with other areas of Thailand to build out more RE-Plants. From a corporate perspective, Koh Samui exemplifies the ideal situation for a FEWS RE-Plant. The Plant is designed to handle the multiple challenges the island faces: municipal waste elimination, localized sustainable power generation, provide water that’s safe to drink and sewage treatment. The growth in tourism of the island will only worsen the current challenges unless comprehensive solutions are put in place. Koh Samui would be an awesome place to showcase the FEWS RE-Plant to other potential GPE clients.

We have been working through the Thailand Board of Investments office here in New York and the Bangkok for the past 4 years. Our Local representative from the Thailand Board of Investment is Ms. Anin Meksuksai and after 4 years of working with us, she was able to connect us with Doctor Twarath Sutabutr, SC.D of the Energy Policy and Planning office of the Ministry of Energy and he was very helpful in helping us to understand the process of how the government solicits for energy.

Also during the 4 years that we have been working on Thailand, we have tried to reach out to the Surat Thani governor’s office and various other federal and local offices. We would like to work with not only Koh Samui but all of the islands and then the mainland as well.”

We asked, “What would the implementation timescale be for such a project in Koh Samui, how would it be funded?” Ron explained “FEWS RE-Plants take a total of 28-36 months to complete once contracts are signed. There is a lengthy customizing design phase, which takes into account the topography and land surveys. We have our own funding sources for each FEW RE-Plant. The investors key off a 25-30 Power Purchase Agreement as the primary basis of reaching the desired ROI. The other services provided by the RE-Plant can thus be provided at a reduced amount compared to a stand-alone sewage waste treatment facility or a water treatment facility.

What sort of timescale would you see on the table to deal with the existing problems with the broken incinerator and the tons of garbage due to that?

While the construction of an entire FEWS RE-Plant would take 28-36 months, designing and building the plasmafication portion of the Plant could be completed within 18 months of signed contracts. Admittedly, this does not help with the immediate issue of the broken incinerator, but designing the waste to energy components (the plasmafication design) must be done right. A FEWS RE-Plant is a far superior solution to just incineration because the RE-Plant processes can accept all types of waste and it produces nontoxic exhaust from the Plant.

Once the entire FEWS RE-Plant is completed the exhaust is fed back into the building and cleaned further. So, short answer, 18 months for a solution that is both environmentally sustainable eliminates the variability of contracting out companies to take the trash off the island and take it back to the mainland.”

While this seems like an excellent prospect for dealing with garbage on Koh Samui it would need the go-ahead from the Governor of Surat Thani, a stumbling point for Ron who has been trying to contact him for the last 3 years with little success due to the language barrier and being unable to determine the right person to contact within the Governor’s Staff. With such barriers in place, it seems that Koh Samui will have to wait a little longer for any kind of a solution to a problem that could prove disastrous for the island long term. Ron ended our conversation with the following, “Once Koh Samui’s water, pollution, and sewage challenges become undeniable it will be too late for tourism and its economic importance to the island. I’d hate to see that occur to such a great vacation destination.”

STORY: Samui Times


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

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand27 mins ago

The Future of Medical Tourism in Thailand | Good Morning Thailand LIVE | Episode 91

Transport35 mins ago

Thai government officials offered special promotional fares on Air Asia

Phuket40 mins ago

Phuket: 5 Covid-19 deaths, 2 Sandboxers, drop in hospital beds

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!

Coronavirus Vaccines56 mins ago

Rollout of AstraZeneca boosters for people fully vaccinated with Sinovac begins September 24

Business1 hour ago

Occupancy at alternative quarantine hotels takes a nosedive

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Thai FDA approves Moderna vaccine for ages 12 to 17

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism2 hours ago

Desperate hotel operators look to Bangkok re-opening for signs of hope

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 171 deaths and 14,555 new cases

Tourism3 hours ago

Will it, won’t it? October re-opening in doubt as Anutin defers to medical experts

Philippines18 hours ago

ICC opens investigation into Philippines President Duterte

World18 hours ago

American general defends “clandestine” phone calls with China

Thailand18 hours ago

Countdown to October reopening; body of Koh Phi Phi resort manager found | Thailand News Today | September 16

Visa18 hours ago

Hungarian woman arrested in Koh Samui for 10-year overstay

Thailand19 hours ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat reports Covid outbreak at prison

Guides19 hours ago

Most famous viewpoints in Phang Nga

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 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