“It looks as if this has become a chronic issue,” Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh told the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association at its Sept. 11 meeting at the Grand Sole Hotel. “Even after negotiations, the majority of residents are still adamant the dump be closed.”
Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh tells the PBTA that Khao Maikaew residents are still adamant the dump there be closed.
The stink over the Khao Maikaew landfill, where 400 tons of Pattaya trash goes a day, began late last year when neighbors started barricading the entrance to the dump to protest extra-stinky garbage deposits from Koh Larn. At the time, community leaders insisted all waste come from mainland Pattaya only, not the island, as its long transport makes the rotting trash even more pungent.
“Khao Maikaew and nearby communities have been suffering from effects of garbage dumps for far too long, with complaints about smell, an increase in animals and insects that are vectors of communicable diseases, and wastewater seeping, contaminating water sources,” Ronakit said. “These issues have caused such difficulties that residents have protested and closed the entrance of the garbage dump again. There have been protests and complaints earlier and when accommodations were made, the garage dump reopened. But now it has closed again.”
At the time, Pattaya officials suggested building a landfill on the island to solve the problem. But in the months since, Khao Maikaew residents have become even more strident, now demanding the entire facility be shuttered and sporadically closed access to the landfill.
The shutdowns have caused garbage to back up into Pattaya, sending business leaders up in arms.
“In the past couple of months, there have been unpleasant odors emitting from trash, which is causing much difficulty for residents and nearby businesses, as well as blemishing Pattaya’s image as a tourism destination,” PBTA President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn said.
Ronakit said city hall frantically is working for a solution.
“I have to admit that garbage issue is a big one in Pattaya that administrators are brainstorming ideas on for guidelines and solutions,” he said.
The immediate solution, he said, is an agreement with the sub-district governments in Najomtien and Laem Chabang to share their dumps. The long-term, fix, however, is to find another large, permanent dump for Pattaya.
“Pattaya is looking for a new space to manage garbage sustainably,” Ronakit said. “How Pattaya will solve the issue, we will update you in the future.”