Chiang Mai Faces Another Garbage Crisis
By Chhun C.Tate, Voice of Khmer Youth Newspaper,
Chiang Mai could soon face a third waste crisis unless it starts to
recycle its garbage, experts believe.
In 1994 rubbish was
dumped in the city when it ran out of landfill space. Waste was not
collected for a month. The same thing happened four years later and for
the same reason.
Dr.Suporn Kootatep, of the department of
environment engineering at Chiang Mai University, now predicts a
third crisis "very soon" without measures to separate and recycle
According to Dr. Suporn, it’s important to separate
"wet" from "dry" wastes for the recycling process. Wet waste includes food
and garden waste; dry waste consists of glass, ceramics, paper, metal and
plastic. Chiang Mai generates 200 tonnes of rubbish a day, 91 wet and 109
The city administration has introduced yellow and green
dustbins – yellow for dry waste and green for wet waste. But people mix up
dry and wet wastes in the same bin, making recycling virtually
Waste collection is run by a private company,
operating 60 trucks. This is in line with central government’s
privatisation policy. Dr. Suporn said there were no plans to end the
contract; the company was doing its job properly.
Chiang Mai residents seem keen on recycling, however. Vuth Chapanon, 64, a
lecturer of Mae Joe University, said he always separated his own waste in
the municipal dustbins – but he did not think many others did the same. "I
try to separate as much as I can to help the waste workers," he added.
However, he believed waste recycling was becoming more popular in the
Sopan Kampen, 45, a vegetable seller at Imboon market
said most villagers outside Chiang Mai separated their waste and composted
it. Uncomposted waste was burnt. "When I finish selling organic vegetables
here, I bring all the waste back home."
According to research
by Chiang Mai municipality, there are several major causes of pollution.
There are no regulations on human and animal waste management. Waste is
usually applied directly to fields or gardens, or thrown into rivers,
without drainage systems. Many community ponds are thus highly
There is also little knowledge of waste treatments
such as composting and bio-gas. Only through recycling can such problems
be solved, Dr Suporn believes. Chiang Mai municipality has recently
launched a 108 million baht recycling project.