Near the Cambodian border in Aranyaprathet, poor workers sort through massive amounts of rubbish and discarded items in a huge landfill authorities consider an environmental headache.
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The night atmosphere at the landfill near the Cambodian border is eerie with the glow of fires burning nearby, the air acrid from the smoke. Then there is the smell of the smell of decomposing waste, but the workers don't seem to notice. Photos by Patipat Janthong
Wading through the lucrative wasteland
The second-hand goods business is booming – markets are thriving and many reap the benefits of the inevitable waste – but it's also creating an environmental headache
When a garbage truck pulls in at tambon Parai landfill, 20-year-old Rot Tha and a dozen fellow Cambodians rush to see what it has brought.
The truck has arrived from nearby Rong Kluea market.
Discarded goods, bottles, food packaging and other rubbish are tipped from the truck on to the dusty ground. The air is acrid with smoke from rubbish burning nearby and the smell of decomposing waste.
But among the general waste is also a massive quantity of second hand clothing that was discarded by market vendors. The sprawling Rong Kluea market, not far from the Thai-Cambodian border, sells vast amounts of second hand clothing and apparel, much of which has been donated to charities abroad and sold on, via wholesale rag houses, to Thai merchants.
Can I sell this? A woman looks at an item she has picked out of the rubbish.
So much stock goes through the market that vendors simply cherry-pick the best of it, and throw away what they cannot sell.
"I pick out clothes from the rubbish to wear," Rot Tha says as he rummages through the garbage heaps.
"I can get new clothes for free whenever a garbage truck arrives."
Rot Tha also burns some items of clothing and rubbish bags to remove any metal parts, which he then sells to Cambodian merchants to earn a meagre living.
It's sunrise and the work continues.
But before the clothes are dumped at the landfill site, they have gone on a long and murky journey through the hands of donors around the world, smugglers and second-hand goods merchants.
According to the Customs Department, more than 23,800 tonnes of used commodities, worth about 1.32 billion baht, were imported into Thailand between January and November last year.
Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province, not far from the Cambodian border, was the main point of entry.
The used goods, mostly from Japan, the United States and Mexico, are transported to second-hand markets across the country.
Daylight reveals a well-organised business with workers sorting through the discarded items for those that can be used and sold.
One of the largest of those markets is Rong Kluea.
But along with generating income for merchants, the used goods trade also causes waste and pollution problems in Aranyaprathet's Muang district and tambon Parai of the province's district, where Rong Kluea market is located.
For some, like Rot Tha, the discarded goods are a lifeline. But local authorities are struggling to deal with what they say is a growing waste management problem.
You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/332797/wading-through-the-lucrative-wasteland
atmosphere – the mood or feeling that exists in a place บรรยากาศ
landfill – an area of land where large amounts of waste material are kept and buried under the earth
eerie – strange and mysterious, and sometimes frightening น่าขนลุก
glow – to produce a continuous light and sometimes heat แสงแวววาว
acrid – of a smell or taste that is very strong, bitter and unpleasant in your nose and throat รุนแรง (กลิ่นหรือรส), ฉุน, แสบจมูก
decompose – to be destroyed gradually by natural chemical processes ทำให้เน่าเปื่อย
wade – to walk with an effort through something, especially water or mud ลุย เดินท่องน้ำ หรือ โคลน
lucrative – earning a lot of money ที่มีกำไรงาม
booming – suddenly increasing in trade and economic activity เฟื่องฟู
thriving – very successful ประสบความสำเร็จอย่างสูง
reap – to get something as a result of something that you do ได้รับผลตอบแทน
benefit – an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help ผลประโยชน์, ข้อได้เปรียบ, ผลดี
inevitable – unavoidable; certain to happen ซึ่งหลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้
environmental – involving the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them เกี่ยวกับสภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
headache – a person or thing that causes worry or trouble ปัญหา
rush – to move or do something very quickly รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
discard – to get rid of something that you no longer want or need ละทิ้ง, ทอดทิ้ง, ทิ้งไป
goods – things that are produced to be sold; possessions that can be moved สินค้า, สิ่งของ
packaging – materials used to wrap or protect goods that are sold in shops/stores วัสดุที่ใช่ห่อหุ้มหรือป้องกันสินค้า
rubbish – waste material or things that are no longer wanted or needed ขยะ
tip – to move so that one end or side is higher than the other; to move something into this position ทำให้เอียง
dusty – full of dust ( ฝุ่น); covered with dust เป็นฝุ่น
massive – very large in size, amount or number ใหญ่โต
quantity – a particular amount of something ปริมาณ, จำนวน
vendor – someone who sells something, but not in a shop พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
sprawling – built over a wide area in a way that is not carefully planned เกี่ยวกับพื้นที่กว้างที่ไม่ได้วางแผนอย่างรอบคอบ
vast – extremely large in size or amount, etc. มากมาย
apparel – clothing, when it is being sold in shops/stores เสื้อผ้า, เครื่องนุ่งห่ม
donate – to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a charity, school, political party, etc. บริจาค
charity – an organisation to which you give money so that it can give money and help to people who are poor or ill, or who need advice and support กิจการกุศล, มูลนิธิ
via – through ผ่าน
wholesale – relating to the business of selling large quantities of goods, especially to people who are going to sell them in a shop ขายส่ง
rag – a piece of old, often torn, cloth used especially for cleaning things ผ้าขี้ริ้ว
rag house – a business selling low-quality clothing
merchant – a person or business that buys and sells goods, especially one that trades with other countries พ่อค้า, ผู้จำหน่าย, คนขาย
item – a single article or object รายการ, รายการสิ่งของ
stock – an amount of something that you keep so that you can use it when you need it ที่เก็บไว้ในสต๊อก
cherry-pick – to choose the best people or things from a group and leave those which are not so good เลือกเฉพาะที่ดีที่สุด
rummage – to search for something among a lot of other things; to move things around carelessly while searching for something ค้นกระจุยกระจาย, รื้อค้น
heap – a lot of something; an untidy pile of something กอง
metal – a type of solid mineral substance that is usually hard and shiny and that heat and electricity can travel through, for example tin, iron and gold โลหะ
meager – (of amounts or numbers) very small or not enough น้อย,ไม่พอเพียง
living – money to buy the things that you need in life การทำมาหากิน
murky – not clear; dark or dirty with mud or another substance มืดมนมาก
donor – a person who gives money or goods to an organisation, especially one that helps people ผู้บริจาค
smuggler – a person who takes things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally ผู้ลักลอบขนสินค้าหรือคนหรือสัตว์เข้าและออกจากประเทศอย่างผิด
Customs Department – a government department which checks and collects taxes on goods leaving or entering the country กรมศุลกากร
commodity – a product or a raw material that can be bought and sold โภคภัณฑ์
import – to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
entry – the place where you come into a place; an act of going into or getting into a place ทางเข้า, การเข้า
transport – to move people or things from one place to another ขนส่ง
reveal – to show; to let something become known เผยให้เห็น
sort – to arrange things in groups or in a particular order according to their type, etc; to separate things of one type from others จัดเข้าประเภท, แยกประเภท
generate – to produce ก่อให้เกิด
income – money that someone gets from working or from investing money รายได้
lifeline – something that is very important for somebody and that they depend on วิถีทางจรรโลงชีวิต
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม
deal with – to take action to solve a problem จัดการปัญหา