Waste in landfills accounts for 13% of GHG Emission Sources. The impact of landfill sites are environmentally disastrous as it pollutes the air and water sources as well as creates acidification. In Thailand, there are 70 legally-approved landfills in operation today in addition to 1,888 open dumping sites around the country(1).
The 9-year statistics indicate no significant correlation between the waste quantity and the changes in the open dumping and landfill sites. However, when compared to other disposal methodologies available, open dumping and landfilling make up between 70-80% of the number of waste management facilities.
What could be the rationale behind these figures?
Based on our research and hands-on experience working with communities within cities, rural areas, and tourist attractions, our take on the matter is as follows:
- Landfilling is still the most cost-effective way to dispose of waste (THB/Tonne) when compared to other means in the aspects of capital investment.
- Landfilling is attached to the RDF and Waste-to-Energy related businesses and therefore, could potentially be perceived as ‘manageable’ over time.
- In the absence of existing waste disposal facilities, remote areas prefer the open dumping and open burn methodologies as it is free.
- Long-standing open dump sites remain untouched as there is no clear ownership especially in the abandoned sites.
How can anyone get involved?
There is no silver bullet solution to the reduction of landfill usage. However, the change that is structural and systematic in nature can bring about the change together with the power of critical mass.
- Consumers and businesses alike should look harder into waste reduction in their day-to-day lives and operation workflow. This will ensure a more sustainable way towards zero waste to landfill while saving natural resources.
- There needs to be more accessible networks to facilitate the reusability of materials or things such as used clothes, old furniture, outdated electrical appliances.
- Waste segregation at the last line of defense needs to be set in place together with the required equipment to enable the people to sort their waste correctly to ensure that recyclable materials can go into recycling process and that only the minimum amount is left to landfilling.
GEPP Sa-Ard’s mission is to drive the zero landfill movement in Thailand for a cleaner place for us, our next generation to live.
Join us in the #zerolandfill mission.
(1) Pollution Control Department Report, 2021