Like all other major cities in Thailand, the northern city of Chiang Mai also had problems with garbage. The real challenge is not to collect or dispose of the waste, as the municipality can already use its budget to hire local waste management companies for this purpose.
The main concern of the city administration is how the general public can be involved in the recycling process when it comes to climate change. As a result, Chiang Mai City Government is now looking at waste management from a completely new perspective.
So far, the focus of the community has been on optimizing work at the end of the waste cycle - garbage collection, garbage cans and waste disposal companies - where the public has not been heavily involved.
Things are changing, however. Earlier this year (2019), the community introduced a mobile app developed by GEPP - a startup for private waste management - to promote recycling within the city.
GEPP will provide citizens with a mobile platform where people can plan and coordinate waste collection in their communities with a recycling company.
The new service is an added bonus to the usual garbage trucks, which are already on the road every day and collect the garbage from private homes and public areas throughout the city.
Mr. Asanee Buranupakorn, Deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality, told Bangkok Post, "Good and efficient waste management requires the participation of all people with environmental awareness."
Chiang Mai breaks new ground and involves the public in the recycling process of waste
Chiang Mai breaks new ground and involves the public in the recycling process of waste. The community has to handle 1,700 tons of waste every day.
"The challenge is to give people the opportunity to actively engage in waste disposal and mass recycle," said Mr. Asanee. The Chiang Mai community has chosen a digital mobile app solution to provide and facilitate access to recycling services, he added.
The app was developed by the Bangkok-based startup GEPP, which is from GEPP SA - ARD Co. The service is already available in some regions of Bangkok.
GEPP describes itself as "Grab for Garbage Recycling Services". The GEPP app provides a digital platform that connects households who want to sell garbage with the appropriate recycling collectors.
"The app makes it easier for people to recycle garbage or even make money from it. It also provides the community with data on the sources and types of garbage in the community. That way, we can better manage and reduce waste in the community, "says Mr. Asanee. "Not only do we try to fight climate change, but we also want to reduce the emissions caused by the waste," he added.
Better planning: The app makes it easier for citizens to give recycling companies time to pick up waste.
The community launched the GEPP app in July 2019, starting with selected hotels and schools.
Mr. Asanee said the community is planning to extend the project to the four sub-districts of Sri Vichai, Kawila, Nakhon Ping, and Mengrai.
At the specified dates, the recycling trucks arranged by GEPP pick up the garbage at the time specified in the app at the appropriate place.
GEPP helps to encourage people, especially the younger generation, to look after waste disposal and recycling, Asanee said.
The GEPP app can help reduce the amount of garbage by 10 tons per day or 3% of the total daily produced waste, he stressed.
Wasan Jompakdee, a lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering at Chiang Mai University and President of the Coordinating Committee for the Protection of the Ping River Basin and the Environment (CCPE), welcomes the initiative. "The right solution and technology can help our lives in many ways if we use them wisely."
Meanwhile, Arnad Klangvichien, head of the Rak Chiang Mai network and representatives of 97 communities in the community, added that the older generation must also learn the new technologies. In addition, it can offer them a new opportunity to earn extra income by bringing those who are interested in recyclable goods, such as scrap metal, with local suppliers.
Chiang Mai Province has long faced a garbage problem. However, the situation has continued to deteriorate due to the increase in foreign visitors, who now number 10 million visitors annually rt. In comparison, the local population is only 1.7 million.
Currently, the province produces an average of 630,000 tons of waste per year - that's 1,700 tons per day. However, the city's three refuse incinerators can only handle 510,000 tonnes per year, which means that the excess amount of waste has to be stored in a landfill. As a result, the province has tried to tackle the problem as landfills are hard to find and they attract the attention of the demonstrators.
Chiang Mai Province is starting to reduce waste by promoting recycling or even stopping the use of plastic waste because the landfill has attracted demonstrators. The old photo file from August 2016 shows a picture of garbage being dumped in a back of the local hospital in the San Patong district.
Last year, the provincial governor launched a campaign to clean up Chiang Mai. The campaign includes the use of the GEPP mobile app to promote recycling, regular clean-up in the community and even the establishment of a community center for the management of organic waste and fresh garbage such as food waste, which is converted into fertilizer there.
The province also launched a campaign to educate the public on waste reduction by also promoting initiatives such as encouraging grocers and restaurants to stop using polystyrene food packaging and plastic bottles.
Komsan Suwanampa, deputy governor of Chiang Mai Province, said the bureau had cracked down on the old way of thinking about garbage collection and now encouraged the public to reduce their waste instead.
"We practice the 3R concept (reducing, reusing and recycling) within our organization and have suggested to the local government to make compost bins with organic waste that converts organic waste into manure through natural decomposition. In addition, citizens can put hazardous waste in an extra safe, "he added.
Sources: Bangkok Post, thailandtip