March 20, 2014 00:00 By Poungchompoo Prasert
THE AMOUNT of household garbage nationwide has risen to 27 million tonnes, the Pollution Control Department (PCD) reported yesterday.
Of this figure, only 7.2 million tonnes had been eliminated properly, leaving almost 20 million tonnes not disposed of according to regulations.
“We found that the total amount of garbage last year was equal in area to the 139 Baiyoke Tower II building, the country’s highest,” Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Wichian Jungrungreon told a press conference yesterday.
The amount of household waste per person per day has increased from 1.03 kilograms in 2008 to 1.15kg in 2014.
Thailand has 2,490 waste disposal sites across country, but only 466 of these dumps handle garbage properly, leaving over 2,000 who do not keep to the rules.
The Department also found that last year Thailand produced 2.65 million tonnes of hazardous waste. Of this amount, about 2.04 million tonnes was industrial waste and the rest from households.
About half the hazardous waste was located at Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Rayong, Prachin Buri and Samut Prakan.
Illegal disposal of hazardous waste
In the past year, the Department reported on illegal disposal of hazardous waste more than 10 times, Wichian said. He was worried that electronic waste from households, especially television sets, would become a big problem for the country as Thailand moves to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting next month.
“People will discard their old TV sets and buy new ones that can receive a digital signal. At the same time, Thailand still does not have a recall system to collect electronic waste from households for elimination,” he said.
To date, Thailand has only three waste disposal sites that handle electronic waste, he said.
Household and electronic waste will continue to be a national problem, but infectious waste as well.
The Department found that last year there were 50,481 tonnes of infectious waste collected from hospitals and clinics across country.
The Department had received reports about illegal dumping of this infectious waste in areas such as Buri Ram and Surin provinces.
Meanwhile, the quality of air in Bangkok remains poor. The Department found the level of ozone gas had increased, mostly from vehicles that used gasohol.
Bangkok’s nearby provinces have also been affected by the ozone gas released from power plants, vehicles, and industry.
The Department reports that its tests of water quality have been disappointing, revealing that only eight of 59 main rivers nationwide were in good condition.
The lower Chao Phraya was the most polluted river followed by Tachin, Lam Takong, Upper Pang-Rat, Lopburi, and Rayong.
Additionally, the Department has learned that the quality of seawater along the coastal area was still bad, especially at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River and Sib Song Tanwa canal.