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The Director of the Phuket-based Regional Environment Office 15 has called on officials to remind residents in their areas to properly dispose of “hazardous waste”, including car batteries, pesticides and light bulbs.
“Phuket has a good waste disposal system, but there is still a hidden danger. Some kinds of garbage contains harmful contaminants, especially chemicals. These are hazardous wastes,” explained Dr Pornsri Sutthanarak at a meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 16).
“For example spray cans, car batteries, pesticides, and light bulbs are very dangerous because they contains heavy metals, including manganese, lead and mercury, and so on. If not correctly disposed of, it will certainly affect the health of people and ecosystems.”
“If a product is hazardous it should be clear on the product labels. These toxins may affect people in health, water and air pollution when burned in the incinerator. The most common product is the light bulb,” she said.
Dr Pornsri called on people to bring hazardous wastes to collection centres.
“Each municipality is responsible for the hazardous waste collection of its area,” she said, adding that in order to deal with hazardous waste, Phuket introduced waste management system under the “Thailand no waste” campaign, initiating hazardous waste collection units located within every municipal area in Phuket.
“Local authorities collect hazardous waste from each municipal office and transport it to the main hazardous waste collection centre at Phuket Town Municipality Office.
“For businesses, shops, hotels and so on, hazardous waste can be taken directly to the main hazardous waste collection centre at the Phuket City Municipality offices. A waste fee of B22 per kilogram will be charged. This hazardous waste will be collected by private contractors and taken to the main centre where it will be disposed of correctly,” she added.
“At present, Phuket is struggling to safely dispose of hazardous waste, because the people have not acquired the habit of separating waste. People are still in the habit of throwing everything away together as general waste,” Dr Pornsri noted.
“A growing awareness of garbage is the best starting point for people to work together in reducing and sorting it, as well as recycling containers and packaging,” she said.
“Some things can be recycled in a useful way. It is one effective way to reduce the amount of waste in the future,” she added.
Dr Pornsri also pointed out that the volume of garbage brought to the Saphan Hin incinerators each day has increased by 7% since last year.
“Currently about 865.59 tons of waste is brought to the Saphan Hin incinerators each day,” she said.
However, the current burn rate of the incinerators is under full capacity while “adjustments” are being carried out, Dr Pornsri explained, but added, “These adjustments will enable the incinerators to handle up to 950 tons of waste per day.”