Paying respect and beating the trash
The Sanam Luang area has become the epicentre of emotion. Hundreds of thousands of grief-stricken Thais have converged there to pay their respects to the late His Majesty the King at the nearby Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion inside the Grand Palace. During the day it is a surging sea of people, and late into the night black-clad mourners still linger on the grass lawn. Meanwhile, volunteers come to offer food, water and other services such as free transportation and paramedic services to visitors who come from every province around the country.
Where there are people, there's always garbage. Amid the heartfelt scenes of people solemnly showing their love and respect to their beloved His Majesty King Bhumibol, pictures of bottles, paper, food scraps and all sorts of trash have also become familiar in the news and online. While street sweepers work hard to keep the area clean, a civic group Trash Hero Thailand has launched a campaign to collect garbage around Sanam Luang since Oct 17. People -- meaning anyone -- are invited to join the movement to keep the area around the Grand Palace clean. Garbage collection takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Trash Hero became well-known after their campaign to clean up Koh Lipe in Satun. The idea is for everyone to give a hand in cleaning the environment and to alleviate the burden of the authorities in dealing with the growing amount of trash at tourist attractions. Later the group expanded their activities into Bangkok.
For the current activity, Trash Hero have joined with other volunteer groups and they will collect and separate trash in the area from Royal Pavilion Mahajetsadabadin all the way to the Grand Palace, where the concentration of visitors is the heaviest.
The group have a limited number of gloves and trash bags to give to volunteers. Yet it would be more helpful if participants can bring more trash bags. To reduce garbage at source, the group do not hand out bottled water -- so again, prepare your own, preferably in a water canteen. The group, however, have prepared some water coolers for refilling, as well as some food.
For those who wish to join, there is no specific end time -- it's up to each individual.
The meeting spot is at Royal Pavilion Mahajetsadabadin in front of Wat Rachanatda near the Golden Mount. The meeting time is 7pm. Visit www.facebook.com/trashherothailand.
Editorial pages editor
Anchalee Kongrut is Bangkok Post's editorial pages editor.