Koh Larn trash problem eases, but surplus remains

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A drop in the number of visitors has led to a drop in Koh Larn’s garbage surplus, but 10,000 tons of refuse remain.

Pattaya officials, led by City Councilman Col. Popanan Luengpanuwat, chairman of the Environment Committee, surveyed the resort island Nov. 11, looking for ways to remove the excess trash.

A drop in the number of visitors has led to a drop in Koh Larn’s garbage surplus, but 10,000 tons of refuse remain.
A drop in the number of visitors has led to a drop in Koh Larn’s garbage surplus, but 10,000 tons of refuse remain.

The island had attracted as many as 20,000 tourists a day, stressing the island’s infrastructure, particularly its waste-management system, to the breaking point. But locals say the tourist trade has dropped by 70 percent, easing, but not eliminating, the garbage problem.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports President earlier budgeted 4 million baht in 2017 to hire a consultant to study the relationship between the number of tourists and the impact on the environment in order to determine the ideal number of daily visitors.

The university hired for the job also is studying ways to dispose of the rubbish without transporting it off the island. The final report, however, is not due until next summer.

Popanan said on-island elimination is preferred, as transporting all the rotting rubbish to the mainland will only create problems there.

Protests over Koh Larn trash outside Pattaya’s then-dumpsite in Khao Maikaew eventually led to the facility being closed. The city has struggled ever since finding a new main landfill.

The colonel said more work needs to be done to separate garbage and recyclables until a final solution is found.

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