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The mayor of Koh Samui has suggested that one of the ways to solve the chronic garbage problem on the resort island is to strictly enforce the law making people who produce the garbage to pay for its disposal in proportion with the amount of garbage.
Mr Ramnet Jaikwang admitted that, with an average of 150 tonnes of garbage being produced each day, the existing landfill on the island would no longer be able to absorb the garbage unless the amount of rubbish produced each day is substantially reduced.
The Koh Samui is spending two baht to dispose each kilogramme of garbage or 300,000 baht a day, he said, adding that the campaign to instil an awareness about garbage separation and about not producing too much garbage has received limited cooperation “because those who produce garbage such as the tourism operators and households think that since they have already paid their monthly garbage disposal fees, it is the responsibility of the municipality to get rid of the garbage.
The mayor pointed out that, at present, hotels – whether they are big or small – pay the same amount of garbage disposal fee – that is 2,000 baht per month.
But he said he would like to have a law to make people who produce more garbage to pay more while those who produce less, pay less. “If tourism operators are made to pay tens of thousands of baht garbage disposal fee per month, they may start separating garbage,” he added.
However, the mayor pointed out at a legal problem – that is the existing health law which sets the ceiling of garbage disposal fee at 2,000 baht per month.
Of the 150 tonnes of garbage produced each day, 30 percent come from households and the rest from businesses. 29.36 percent of the garbage are
di’scarded plastics, 27.39 percent are general garbage and 43.29 percent are garbage from construction.
According to the official census, the population of Koh Samui is registered at 65,000, but foreign migrant labourers from neighbouring countries number three times higher. Mr Ramnet said this makes the campaign to instill awareness about separating garbage before its disposal does not work effectively because migrant workers don’t feel it is their responsibility.
As for the 300,000 tonnes of garbage left on the island for disposal, the mayor said the municipality had prepared two more landfills which will be enough to hold garbage for just six months each.