Koh Tao and its mountain of garbage awaiting disposal
Local administration officials on the popular resort island of Koh Tao have heaved a big sigh of relief after a municipality in Poonpin district of Surat Thani province has agreed to accept 45,000 tonnes of garbage from the island for disposal.
About 50,000 tonnes of garbage have been left on the compound of a garbage disposal plant on the island and the amount is increasing by about 30 tonnes each day. Worse still, the only incinerator has not been working for quite some time.
Lately, Advance Alliance Logistics has won the contract to dispose the mountain of garbage by having them compressed and packed in small packs, shipped to the mainland in Surat Thani and then transported by trucks to a clean power generating factory in Khon Kaen to be burned as fuel.
Unfortunately, news about the garbage to be sent to the northeastern province of Khon Kaen leaked out, prompting an uproar from residents in the province. In the end, the mayor of Khon Kaen issued an order prohibiting the power plant from accepting garbage from Koh Tao.
Faced with the ban from Khon Kaen, the Koh Tao mayor and the district chief of Koh Pha-ngan district searched for alternative site for garbage disposal. They finally manage to convince the municipal council of Tambon Tha Rong Chang in Poonpin district of Surat Thani to accept 45,000 tonnes of garbage. A memorandum of understanding was signed on Wednesday.
Mr Kobchai Saowalak, kamnan of Tambon Koh Tao, said the island used to generate 5-6 tonnes of garbage a day. But with more tourists visiting the island, the amount of garbage has now increased to about 30 tonnes a day.
The island itself is unable to cope with the amount of garbage generated each day in addition to the 50,000 tonnes left at the landfill awaiting to be disposed of.
Local officials agreed that the practical solution is to have them shipped to the mainland for disposal.