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Phuket Life: Operating Phuket’s new incinerator

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Life: Operating Phuket’s new incinerator | The Thaiger

PHUKET: After a long wait, with a few false starts, the second trash incinerator at the Saphan Hin waste management facility became fully operational recently.

The incinerator, which was expected to be fully operational during May, encountered technical problems during its trial run and repairs needed to be carried out.

The timing was unfortunate. At the same time, the older number one incinerator also developed problems and had to be shut down ahead of schedule for maintenance.

Prachoom Suriya, chief of Phuket City Municipality Environment Office took time to explain the process at the incinerator to the Phuket Gazette.

“Garbage from all over Phuket is coming to this incinerator. We charge each municipality or Tambon 520 baht per ton to deal with their waste.

“The [new] incinerator can handle at least 700 tons of trash per day. However during the trial period we were burning only 300 tons per day. Currently, we receive 640 tons of garbage every day. That’s a nine per cent increase on last year’s tonnage,” explained Mr Prachoom.

Before the trash can be burnt, excess fluid needs to be drained off. This is done by storing the wet waste in the 7,000-ton-capacity storage unit. When dry, the incinerator can then process the waste at a rate of 700 tons per day. The storage unit is divided into 10 bays, each of which can hold up to 700 tons of waste. From there, the garbage is transferred to the incinerator on a rota basis, the driest trash being stored for the longest period.

“About 60 per cent of all garbage arriving at the facility consists of organic waste, such as food scraps, leaves and tree branches. Not much in the way of recyclable garbage comes in, as it has an economical value and is separated from the rest before it arrives,” he said.

In early May this year, local villagers and visitors to Saphan Hin Park filed complaints against the Phuket City Municipality Environment Office regarding noxious odor from the incinerator.

“The smell was caused by left over trash in the old incinerator that didn’t burn. To add to that, the pollution filtration system fitted to the old incinerator wasn’t functioning properly,” he explained.

“The old incinerator was shut down on May 23. Since then, we’ve had to rely on the new incinerator burning only its 300 ton trial capacity until it became fully operational on June 5.”

To solve the immediate problem Phuket City Municipality Environment Office had to pick the best of some bad choices until the new incinerator could be brought online. They ended up reverting back to using the landfill site, which was already over-flowing.

“Since we had no properly functioning incinerators, we had to solve the problem by using the landfill. The smell was still really bad as the site had been full since March 14 of this year. Garbage arriving was just piled up at the landfill with no proper treatment,” said Mr Prachoom.

“Weather conditions were another factor we had to deal with. On rainy days, the smell was even worse. However, we solved the smell problem by pouring over 1,000 liters of effective microorganism liquid (EM) over the trash,” he added.

The landfill at the rear of the incinerator facility is where a vast amount of Phuket’s rubbish is now being stored. These enormous piles of trash will be processed once the incinerator is up and running.

“We are slowly, bit by bit, getting rid of the garbage over-spill, but there is a lot that needs to be burnt. Now that the new incinerator is fully operational, we hope we can get rid off it all soon,” said Mr Prachoom.

The new incinerator was designed to be able to burn all kinds of trash as there is no formal separation process before it arrives at the incinerator facility.

“The separation process has to be conducted at the source, but I know that Thai people are not in the habit of sorting their household trash at home,” lamented Mr Prachoom.

“Phuket people need to learn about garbage separation. We all need to take this more seriously. Previously, we ran a 10-million-baht campaign to highlight the issue, but people continued putting all their rubbish in one bag.”

“We used to have a trash type separation unit, but by the time the garbage arrived here, it was mixed and contaminated. That is why our new incinerator is designed to burn all types of trash. With the heat at 960 degrees centigrade everything will be burnt, nothing will be left, including chemicals that can damage the environment,” he said.

In order to solve the problem in the long-run, Phuket City Municipality Environment Office has planned to campaign for Phuket to be “greener”.

“We have already planned a campaign for trash separation. The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) will be in charge of the project, called ‘Green Route’,” said Mr Prachoom.

“The ‘Green Route’ project will involve sending out one truck to collect recyclable trash and a second for wet trash.”

“The OrBorJor has proposed the project and requested a budget in order to build a factory with the capability to convert trash into fertilizer or bio-gas,” he added.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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Phuket

Top 10 ways to save water at home

The Thaiger

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Top 10 ways to save water at home | The Thaiger

Hot weather and Thailand’s boom-or-bust water issues (floods in wet season and water shortages in the hot season) are a part of our life. And it’s predicted that there will be hotter hot seasons and wetter wet-seasons in the future. Even if we’re not sure what the future brings we should all be conscious of our water usage, be more self-sufficient and empower ourselves to do something positive to protect Thailand’s precious water reserves.

Here are a few ideas that may help you become more water-wise…

• Shower with a bucket. Don’t let all that water pour down the drain and stick a bucket next to you whilst you shower. The plants will be grateful for an extra drink on hot days and save you using the hose sometimes. Whilst you’re at it, cut your 5 minute shower down to three minutes. Really, you can sing somewhere else! And, really, do we absolutely have to have four showers a day? No. A fresh spray of the deodorant and a fresh shirt will be perfectly OK during water shortages. For couples, well, shower together!

• Leave the water running whilst brushing your teeth? Try turning it off until you want to rinse out your mouth. All that useable water flowing down the basic drain whilst you’re brushing isn’t making your teeth any whiter! Same when you’re washing your hands or washing your hair. Turn off the tap whilst you’re doing all the scrubbing. These little habits could end up saving tens of litres every time you do these common tasks.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Boiling pasta? Rice? Eggs? Once the left-over water has cooled use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants. Just make sure the water has cooled first!

• Washing the car at a car wash is more efficient than doing it yourself at home. Car wash businesses recycle a lot of their water. Even better, drive around with a dirty car now and then – it’s not hurting you or the car and will save water by delaying your car wash.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Lawns use lots of water and daily watering during the hot season can soak up hundreds of litres of valuable. Letting your lawn go brown, be assured it will come back in the wet season. And long-term, landscape accordingly with water wise ground covers, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions. Lawns may be a luxury we can’t afford in these water-conscious times.

• Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Even better wash the dishes by hand. Dishwashing machines are notable water wasters. Grab you partner or a friend and have a chat or a laugh for the five minutes it will take you to wash the dishes by hand. You could save up to 50-100 litres of water! And fill up the sink once and do all the washing together without leaving the water running all the time.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Whilst it hasn’t been a worry in the past, our useable potable water supplies around Thailand are becoming an issue that won’t be fixed immediately. Consider installing a simple rain catchment system. They can be cheap or expensive and should be considered if you’re building a new house as an integral part of the design. Your roof is an amazing water-catcher. Use it.

• Flush the toilet less often and with less water. Most modern toilets have a half-flush option and there are other tricks to reducing the re-fill in your toilet’s cistern – putting a brick into your cistern is one way (gently!).

• Water the plants early in the morning. You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean less evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mould growth in the humid Thai weather and hot evenings. And you really don’t need to water the driveway. It’s not growing. No one is going to walk past your house and compliment you on your sparkling clean drive-way.

• The dog WILL survive without being washed every day, or week. Indeed our dogs used to survive perfectly well without being washed at all. If the family pooch does need a wash try and use some of the water you saved from the bucket in the shower and be careful not to leave the hose on whilst rubbing in the shampoo. As for the cat, it is genetically programmed to clean itself better than you could ever hope to. Leave the cat alone – it DOES NOT need to be washed.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists

The Thaiger

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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | The Thaiger

by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand

CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.

In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.

Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.

Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.

“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.

CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | News by The Thaiger

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Koh Samui

Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

Army, police and municipal officials have raided 18 hotels on Koh Samui claiming that they are illegally owned by foreigners. The hotels in questions are on a mountainside on the Gulf island, the second largest island in Thailand.

Officials carried out the search and raids on Chaweng Noi Mountain in Moo 6 village in Tambon Bophut  and found that 18 luxury mansions had been modified as hotels to cater to foreign tourists.

None of the 18 hotels were licensed and all are co-owned by businessmen from several countries, according to officials, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Israel and Austria. Officials said the foreigners used Thais as nominees by stating their names as co-owners.

The inspection was carried out following complaints from licensed hotels that they had seen a large decrease in patrons after the new hotels began operating. Hoteliers said the new hotels had an unfair advantage because they were not paying the same taxes, or operating under the sale rules, as the licensed hotels.

Officials found the 18 hotels had proper land deeds but had not been registered as hotels.

Bophut police station took legal action against foreign executives of the four companies that were operating four of the 18 hotels. They have been charged with operating without a hotel license and working in a business – food and beverage – that is reserved for Thais.

Police said they will summon executives of the remaining 14 hotels to face charges. The executives are all living abroad.

SOURCE: The Nation

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