First Stepping Stones To Sustainable Solid Waste Management
The spectacular Island-Province of Phuket is a prime tourist destination in southern Thailand. However, the area was overwhelmed with garbage, which was simply piled beyond the boundaries of its largest town. Local authorities were eager to improve on this practice and so, starting in 1994, with the encouragement of the Thai government, Sustainable Cities helped local authorities to find the first stepping stones to sustainable solid waste management. This meant changes in both the physical logistics and the institutional framework for managing waste. Sustainable Cities brought the public and private sectors together to tackle solid waste problems and involved everyone from the Mayor to the waste scavengers.
The Mayor convened a "White Pearl Committee" of stakeholders that identified SWM priorities, and with Sustainable Cities' help, instituted improvements to the landfill (including compacting waste, gas emission control, user pay, operating manual and training program for workers, planted a buffer zone of 4,000 saplings, reviewed technical standards), established a school and community program on recycling and waste disposal awareness, conducted health workshops for waste pickers, improved the marketing of recyclables to junk shops, and developed a pilot composting program for resort hotels and a backyard composting demonstration site. This demonstration project became the model for the South East Asia Solid Waste Improvement Project (SEALSWIP).