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Phuket's toxic disaster in waiting: to find it, simply follow your trash

Phuket's Stink Mountain Now on Toxic Overload

Sunday, June 14, 2009
Phuketwan Photo Album Above: Update

OFFICIALS from Phuket City visited the 'garbage 'mountain'' on Sunday to assess the scale of the problem.

Earlier Report

PEOPLE in the Phuket village of Moo 1 Saphan Hin are holding their noses and protesting at the island's biggest stink at the same time.

They say the stench from the garbage ''mountain'' that is now growing out of control on Phuket is causing a smell beyond belief, and threatening their health.

Phuket's single garbage incinerator has been out of action for a month for maintenance, leading to a huge buildup in trash.

The incinerator cannot cope in normal times with all the garbage.

Now it has been at a standstill for more than four weeks, leading to a dramatic increase in the ''mountain.''

Efforts have been made to bury additional waste in a trench close to the stinkpile at Saphan Hin in Phuket City, where the incinerator is situated, along with the oversupply of garbage.

However, the residents of the nearby Moo 1 village say the strench from the relocated garbage is unbearable and causing respiratory problems, allergies and headaches, especially among the children.

They protested at the ''garbage mountain'' for the media on June 10, hoping someone can solve the problem.

Phuketwan has been on the mountain and can see that a toxic disaster is in the making there.

However, there are people who have spent decades working amongst the garbage.

Samat Intan has been working there for 21 years and raised four healthy daughters. But the Intan family have probably developed an immunity to most of the problems associated with the trashpile.

The villagers, on the other hand, are not used to living amongst trash.

Khun Samat told Phuketwan when we visited the ''mountain'' that the incinerator kept the garbage problem from becoming a disaster.

''If there was no incinerator, it would be an Everest of garbage,'' he said. ''One incinerator is better than none.''

He said that even when there were fewer tourists on the island, the amount of waste being added to the mountain did not diminish.

Phuketwan's view is that the remnants of the mangrove forest around the trash are now at risk from toxic overflow and authorities need to act quickly.

A second incinerator will come too late. At present, there is virtually no overall strategy for solving the garbage problem sensibly.

The concept of reducing and recycling waste needs to become a priority for Phuket planners.

Otherwise, to add to its other problems, the island can expect to have a toxic disaster on its hands . . . Phuket's ''high'' season will definitely run all year long.

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Comments

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I came back to Patong after two years. The garbage is getting worse. The amount on the beaches is appalling. The garbage washes into the ocean before the cleaners come around at 4am. The garbage washes up on the shore again later. It is compromising the water life and polluting the land. Patong is in a sad state.

Posted by Laura on June 15, 2009 08:00

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If it's true that 'Bad News' is better than 'No News' then Thailand really ought to be the richest nation in Asia. Unfortunately it's not true and this is yet another case of people complaining about it for years, the government knowing something needs doing but are so accustom to inaction nothing ever gets done. It's OK, don't worry, the island of Phuket can easily be turned into the national garbage dump, let's face it we're most of the way there already. Shameful, simply shameful!

Posted by Noddy on June 15, 2009 15:39

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I sometimes feel as if I'm the only one recycling on the island, I make a very small bag of garbage per week, mostly chicken bones ans bathroom tissue waste , I compost veg scraps and sort everything else for the recyclers and I'm sick of being the only one.
It isn't up to the "Government," it's up to each one of us !

Posted by Christy on June 16, 2009 10:50


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