11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last night defended the new Cleanliness Act promulgated last year which empowers local administration organizations to manage garbage disposal with the private sector allowed to join in the undertaking.

In his weekly nationwide address, the prime minister explained a new principle recently endorsed by the cabinet which goes along this line – wherever garbage is generated, it must be disposed there.

Because of this new principle, he said garbage disposal project will be exempted from town and country planning law in the way that a garbage disposal facility can be built in “green” area.

The prime minister defended the role of the Interior Ministry pertaining to garbage disposal, saying that the ministry is just the overseer for this undertaking which is the duty of local administration organizations in their respective localities.

In the meantime, he explained that the Public Health Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment are tasked with setting standards and guidelines and providing advice to local administration organizations so that they work within the set frameworks with efficiency and quality.

The prime minister said that garbage management, under the new law, carries meaning more than just collection and disposal of garbage.

For instance, he said garbage management should mean that the people should play a role in its management from the beginning such as garbage separation, recycling of some garbage and generating less garbage.

He said that the fear that the Interior Ministry might try to influence in the garbage management process or might gain vested interests in its choice of the private sector to take part in garbage management was unfounded, noting that the local administration organizations have the final say in choosing the private sector – not the Interior Ministry.

The prime minister pointed out that landfill is not the most effective means in garbage disposal because there are still many garbage being left behind.   Burning them to generate electricity, he said, is a productive way to get rid of garbage.

To prevent protests from people in a community over the use of its land as dumping ground for garbage collected from elsewhere which has always been the case, he said that the cabinet recently approved a new guideline as a matter of principle – that is garbage must be disposed at the location where it is created – so that there must be collective responsibility of the localities to get rid of their own garbage.