Phuket covets low-carbon island image
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Phuket covets low-carbon island image

'Platform' to help manage food waste

A family of tourists relax on Karon Beach, the longest beach in Phuket. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
A family of tourists relax on Karon Beach, the longest beach in Phuket. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: The island province aims to achieve the status of a low-carbon destination to promote eco-tourism.

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said on Thursday the province has held discussions with state agencies and a sustainable development foundation, where they focused on managing food waste, which creates a negative impact on the environment.

Relevant agencies agreed to produce a coordinated and systematic food waste management plan. The state agencies, as well as private and civil society sectors, must integrate their efforts for maximum sustainability, Mr Narong said.

Wattanapong Suksai, director of the Phuket Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office, said the office has been supported by an environmental fund to lower greenhouse gas emissions and execute action plans to cope with climate change.

A working team chaired by the local government has also been formed to carry out the task on the ground.

Phuket is working with five sectors -- energy, transport, waste management, agriculture, forestry and industry -- to proceed with curbing greenhouse gasses.

Citing data from 2019, Phuket emitted 3.1 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide. The rate has been forecast to rise to around 4.6 million tonnes by 2030.

However, successfully cutting back carbon emissions would lower Phuket's greenhouse gas output to 440,000 tonnes per year by 2030, Mr Wattanapong said.

According to the Environmental and Pollution Control Office 15, the problem has to do with Phuket's inability to sort rubbish, 50% of which is food waste. Such separation would be a cost-effective and climate-friendly way of disposing of the garbage.

To deal with food waste, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation will work more closely with Phuket municipality. The PAO runs a composting facility and is looking to establish a knowledge centre for local residents to handle their garbage using the correct methods.

A platform will be developed for residents and businesses, which will enable them to learn how much excess food is discarded by hotels, retail shops or department stores and how it can otherwise be donated to vulnerable groups. It will also help to calculate the amounts of food waste, which is useful for mapping out effective disposal plans.

The office is expected to seek a budget to promote Phuket as a role model province in dealing with food waste in a bid to achieve the status of a low-carbon destination, Mr Wattanapong said.

Thiwat Seedokbuab, vice chair of the Phuket PAO, said it is operating a composting facility in tambon Rassada and welcomes residents' cooperation in managing food waste and spreading the word about it.

The PAO is in the middle of drafting the terms of reference to procure electric buses, he added.

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