In March 2018, a statement from the City Wastewater Treatment plant estimated that the 2 incinerators operating in Phuket burn on average the same volume of garbage that is delivered from across the island each day – about 850 tons. That number depends greatly on the fluctuation of tourist populations arriving in Phuket and this number will in all likelihood expand greatly in the coming years.
The dedicated efforts of local communities gathering into trash hero squads to clean and reduce beach waste demonstrate one thing: the infrastructure to handle large amounts of trash is not enough. As is the case for many of the problems of existence, most of the solution lies in the management and prevention of the cause at the origin of the problem.
It is important to recognize two side-effects of our trash going into incinerators. On one hand, we are not aiding the reduction of our CO2 emissions, and on the other, the trash that does not reach the incinerators will simply go back to our rivers, and end up back on our beaches.
Thailand however, and Phuket most notably, is developing structures to recycle the waste which when properly sorted will be redistributed for transformation. Paper, aluminium, glass and some plastics can and are indeed already following a line of process which greatly contributes to our environmental efforts. It is therefore relevant that each of us, in our household, begin to separate our trash to facilitate these processes. With a few tips and some info, we can greatly transform our habits:
- Food and all organic waste don’t have to go to the incinerator, most of it is water, we can give it back to nature anywhere not far from us.
- Sort trash by separating types of waste – recycling plants do not have the means to sort trash
- Use transparent waste bags so that it is easy to see the contents – it will help trash collectors know what to do with it.
- Your trash can produce an income for families around you (search for junk shops around your area). They will collect it and bring it to one of the 3 main recycling plants in Phuket (who will buy out sorted trash).
- Organize “trash points” in your neighbourhood, where locals can leave their sorted trash, then organize transport to the recycling plants.
And finally, when a tsunami strikes, none of the single drops that constitute the wave feels responsible for the outstanding effect it will have. So don’t give up, don’t think that alone you won’t make a difference.
Look for the nearest recycling plants:
A recycling centre in Wichit, Phuket, Thailand
WongPanit Recycling Center
A recycling centre in Kathu, Phuket, Thailand
A recycling centre in Si Sunthon, Phuket, Thailand