TOURIST DESTINATIONS across the country are mounting clean-up operations after New Year holiday vacationers left behind piles of garbage.
The cool winter weather drew millions of visitors to popular tourist areas and national parks over the long holiday, generating considerable income for local authorities. However, the large crowds have left behind a garbage problem that is slowly being resolved.
Amnart Jermlae, Chiang Rai Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office chief, said the garbage problem was inevitable during the peak tourism season, but local authorities could manage the clean-up.
“The province is progressing in the project ‘Chiang Rai No Garbage’ project and aims to reduce litter on the street as much as possible. So far, we are doing well on the project,” Amnart said.
He said it was normal that an increased amount of rubbish was left behind after large numbers of tourists took advantage of the country’s attractive countryside, adding that local authorities would be able to clean up the refuse within a few days.
Phetchabun Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office chief Sukit Rattnaviboon said there was not a serious garbage problem in Phu Tub Berk this year.
Phu Tub Berk, the popular mountain winter retreat for domestic tourists, experienced a severe garbage problem in 2015. Pictures of piles of garbage were published nationwide, which accumulated due to a large number of tourists and improper management.
Sukit said that to prevent a reoccurrence, local authorities had distributed garbage bags to tourists before they entered the mountain area to persuade them to collect their own garbage.
“The campaign was successful, as this year there was not a large garbage mountain in Phu Tub Berk, even though this tourist attraction welcomed a huge crowd of tourists during the New Year holidays,” he said.
“We also have proper and sufficient garbage disposal facilities, and the garbage from Phu Tub Berk is disposed of in the landfill in Lom Sak district.”
Khao Yai National Park also declared success in the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department’s “Garbage Return Home” campaign, in which tourists could exchange garbage for a souvenir on their way out of the area.
Kanchit Srinoppawan, Khao Yai National Park head, said the park did not face a garbage problem during the holiday period.
“We have already cleaned the park and all the garbage has been disposed of at local garbage disposal facilities, and we are summing up the result of the ‘Garbage Return Home’ campaign and reporting back to the department,” Kanchit said.
According to Khao Yai National Park officials, there was about 20 tonnes of garbage disposed of at the park during the long weekend, 1.5 tonnes of which was involved in the ‘Garbage Return Home’ campaign.