Khao Maikaew residents tell Pattaya to find new dumpsite

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Residents enlisted the help of cute little schoolchildren to march in holding signs to get their point across: (Pattaya City) build your new dump elsewhere.
Residents enlisted the help of cute little schoolchildren to march in holding signs to get their point across: (Pattaya City) build your new dump elsewhere.

Khao Maikaew residents have a message for Pattaya officials looking to open a new garbage dump in their community: Find somewhere else.

The mayor of the Bang­lamung District town joined residents in opposing a new plan to build a dump and incinerator in Khao Maikaew, which took Pattaya’s garbage for 30 years before resident protests shut it down in 2013.

Pattaya has spent the past four years trying to find a replacement.

Pattaya officials and consultants from King Mongkut’s University of Technology, North Bangkok laid out details of their new plan at another public hearing on waste-disposal issues Nov. 29 at Huay Kainaow School.

Project advisor Somrath Kerdsuwan said the new plan calls for packing waste into capsules and burning them in a waste-to-energy incinerator that he claimed would cause little pollution in Khao Maikaew.

He said landfills no longer are viable, given Thailand’s failure to properly separate biodegradable and recyclable waste and the understaffed nature of trash dumps.

By packing rubbish into capsules, it will cause less impact on the environment and enable up to 20 percent more rubbish to be handled daily, Somrath claimed.

Khao Maikaew Mayor Jamnien Keeteepakul conceded the capsule approach was interesting, but said his city wanted no part of it. Khao Maikaew, he said, has been contending with rubbish and pollution issues for more than 30 years by being forced to take Pattaya’s garbage.

In 2012, more than a year of disputes with residents began, with locals demonstrating against the 400 tons of Pattaya garbage being dumped in their backyards a day.

Neighbors started barricading the entrance to the dump to protest extra-stinky garbage deposits from Koh Larn. Intermittent blockades became temporary closures which became a permanent closure in late 2013.

One unnamed local resident speaking at last month’s hearing said Pattaya promised Khao Maikaew would be its dump for only a decade. But city officials lied and for more than 30 years the city has been a smelly, polluted dumpsite.

Buried trash has seeped into the groundwater and affected crops, he claimed. The new trash facility may be a solution to Pattaya’s problems, he said, but Khao Maikaew has done its part.

Bottom line, the resident told planners, build your new dump elsewhere. We’ve had enough.