PATTAYA – Khao Maikaew officials plan to decontaminate land Pattaya uses as a garbage dump after the last of 120 tons of medical waste were removed.
Khao Maikaew Mayor Jamnien Kitipakul took reporters on a tour of the 120-rai plot Feb. 10, five days before the deadline to remove the infectious waste that sparked protests from neighbors. Only 20 tons remained and the mayor fully expected Pattaya to meet the deadline.
What happens next is not completely clear.
The mayor said the site will be cleaned to kill any bacteria and viruses that may have remained after the waste was removed to prevent the health of neighboring residents.
But whether Pattaya can bring more hazardous materials to the site remains unsettled. After discovery of the huge stockpile of medical waste, Khao Maikaew banned any further deposits.
But Pattaya officials – who broke a previous agreement not to leave more than 100 tons of medical waste there at any one time – got a concession that would allow them to leave one ton of hazardous hospital refuse there.
According to critics, the law requires all medical waste to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment. The dump’s facility, however, can accommodate only five tons, making the original agreement between the two cities illegal.
If Pattaya does bring a ton of hazardous waste to Khao Maikaew now, it will be able to keep it in closed, cool storage.
But Jamnien cast doubt on whether that would happen, saying the city may still have to prohibit any hazmat from being dumped there due to residents’ protests.