Rawai soi turned into garbage dump

  • Published: 18/04/2013 at 11:03 AM
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Canadian expat Andy Greenlay, 71, has been picking up garbage around where he lives in Rawai for 30 years, but the garbage problem has become so bad now that he cannot keep up with it.

Not satisfied the Rawai Municipality are doing enough to solve the problem, Andy called The Phuket News for help in getting the trash around Soi Nam Jai and the local market there cleaned up.
“Phuket is a very beautiful place. We shouldn’t let garbage be dumped everywhere like this,” he said.

The problem, he explained, began when a local talad nat market was set up, opening on Wednesdays and Sundays. As rubbish from the market piled up and was not collected, other people decided the whole area was a dumping ground.
He showed The Phuket News the problem. The piles of rubbish include large amounts of styrofoam and other plastic material.
“This place is right next to a big pond which supplies water to many people in Rawai,” he said. “There are around 100,000 fish in the pond and it attracts every kind of bird.”
He said he has never seen any concerted effort by the local government to deal with the problem. A garbage truck from Rawai municipality comes, but that’s not enough, he says.
“They should hire some cleanup staff and set up bins to separate the trash.”
Many people, he said, dump garbage there “as if it’s normal” while others take plastic and styrofoam there and then set light to it, resulting in toxic smoke polluting the air. Some building construction workers have also been dumping cement and building debris in the area.
Every time there is wind, lighter trash is blown everywhere, across the alley, into homes and into the pond.
He said that he thought at the very least the local government should put some fencing around the area and erect a sign prohibiting dumping.
“We can’t change everything but we should try. What each of us does affects everyone else. We have to share and help each other,” Mr Greenlay said.
Approached by The Phuket News, Suracheed Jitmate head of the Rawai Municipality Public Health Department said that he had heard complaints about the mess in Soi Nam Jai, especially the problem from the market.
“I have talked to the market owner once and told her he must look after the cleanliness of the place,” he said. “I saw that he’d put some bins out for the stallholders, but I will talk to him again.
“The owner of the market has to apply to the municipality for a license every year and the rules in the license include regulations about cleanliness. I think we can solve this problem.”
He admitted that he had also heard about the big piles of garbage near the pond and the blown trash everywhere in the soi.
“An owner of land can dump timber and cement if the plan is to build up the land. But no one can dump garbage such as plastic, foam or other polluted items, even on their own land. I will have a talk with the land owner soon to work out a solution.”
Mr Suracheed said that the municipality’s garbage truck goes to the area twice a day, at midday and midnight.
Chasada Sonphuek, the owner of the talad nut, said, “Normally the municipality sends a truck to pick up the garbage and officials regularly check the cleanliness of the place.”
He added that he gives away large garbage bags to every stallholder. At the end of each market day he also hires a crew to clean up the place, he added.
He admitted that the cleaners did not come to work on a couple of occasions recently because it was raining, but said he would talk to stallholders to emphasize they must keep the market clean.