Chiang Mai City officials have discovered many large items of trash dumped in the city’s storm sewers that are believed to have slowed drainage and contributed significantly to last month’s extensive flooding in several areas.
Deputy Mayor Chatree Chuamanocharn on Friday acknowledged the survey of municipal waterways conducted by Nakhon Chiang Mai Municipality officials implementing the “Ying Thing, Ying Tuam” campaign – whose name translates roughly as “The more garbage disposed of in the wrong places, the worse the flooding”.
Chatree said the situation was particularly bad along the Mae Kha Canal in the Fa Mai neighbourhood, the exit point for water draining out of the urban area. Garbage collected there in a bottleneck, he said, impeding drainage. He said municipality workers had recently pulled discarded mattresses, large tree branches and even a refrigerator and washing machine from the canal, along with a multitude of plastic bags full of garbage – 15 tonnes of waste in all.
Chatree urged community residents to report anyone throwing hefty material into sewers and canals, especially the Mae Kha, vowing to fine “selfish” litterbugs up to Bt10,000. He urged residents with old furniture, appliances and other large unwanted items to call the municipality during office hours at 053-259116-7 to have workers collected them rather than throwing them into water channels.
Municipal workers also had dredged waterways connected to the Ping River near Wat Chaimongkol and a Charoen Prathet mosque and removed a large amount of garbage from storm sewers. The effort was expected to prevent flooding at the Night Bazaar and in Chang Klan and Chareon Prathet, Chatree said. Dredging was also done around the Waroros flower market, he added.
“Drainage pipes in the area were clogged with flower stems, plastic ties and plant roots, so when we had heavy rain, it was no wonder there was flooding. Everyone, including merchants, should abide by cleanliness regulations,” he said.