Dealing with waste in a productive way

business June 24, 2012 00:00

By Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nati

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Facing with uncontrollable scattering and widespread dumping of garbage over the past few years, three communities have learnt how to make their communities more liveable by properly separating rubbish and reuse household waste instead of putting them all

These three communities include Chiang Mai province's Ban Nam Lhong, Pattalung province's Ban Na Ma Praew, and Lamphun province's Ban Pa Buk.

Four years ago, Ban Nam Hlong was full of garbage and rotting rubbish which created foul smell across community.
Starting in 2009, with help from Thailand Environment Institute Foundation, Suppakorn Suwannakit, deputy headman of Ban Nam Lhong had tried to educate villagers how to collect and segregate garbage properly before disposing.
He had teamed up with small group of villagers just only five to six person had joined with him when he started the project. Now all people in the village know the right way to separate waste and keep their community green.
They started by teaching Prathom 6 students, as some of them may leave school after finishing the primary schooling level. Matthayom 3 students were also taught, as they were about to finish the highest education that the community school can offer.
These students were supposed to share their knowledge with their parents on how to collect and separate garbage properly. To date, over 250 families in his village had joined the activity to separate waste.
They separate toxic waste and plastic bottles and polystyrene foams from non-recyclable materials. Then they sell the segregated items to a waste collector so-called " Sa Leng" who visit the village every week.
"It was very difficult to tell people to change their way in disposing garbage properly. We had to try again and again until they see that their community can become cleaner. Then, they change their behaviour," Suppakorn said.
Aside from segregating waste, they also learnt to reduce waste. During the past five months of this year, the community could reduce the consumption of foam waste by over 3.3 kilograms, plastic bags by over 4.28 kilograms. Meanwhile, villagers turned non-recyclable wastes to fertilizer production for use in community's farms.
Like Ban Nam Lhong community, villagers in Pattalung province's Ban Na Ma Praew also changed their behaviour.
Sparking the need for the segregation was the realisation that their community produced over 10,800 kilograms of waste every month. Then, the villagers started to form a group to collect and separate waste. They will separate garbage into three different types - general waste, recyclable waste, and organic waste.
These three types of waste will be dealt with different methods. Organic waste will be produced as fertiliser and recyclable waste will be sold to the Waste Bank.
As a result of villager's activities to separate over 24,350 kilograms of waste during January to April, they could reduce greenhouse gases emission with 1,337 kilograms. The amount of greenhouse gases reduction was calculated by Thailand Environment Institute Foundation.
Waste separation is not the only way to eliminate garbage in community, as a cut in consumption is also another effective way to decrease volume of rubbish.
Lamphun’s Ban Pa Buk had learnt how to reduce resources consumption in funeral services, by avoiding the use of excessive resources such as wooden castles used in the cremation.