Elegant palaces, magnificent royal gardens, pottery, temples and sumptuous food are but a few of the attractions that this municipality is regarded for.Nonthaburi, a first class municipality in Thailand is situated along the banks of Chao Phraya River, 20 kilometers away from central Bangkok. It covers an area of 39 km2 hosting a population of 0.27 million. The municipality is divided into 10 sub-districts, locally known as “tambon”.
|Climate||Tropical with average temperature of 29 deg C|
|Population density||6,862 persons/sq.km.|
The municipality of Nonthaburi, like other municipalities in Thailand is based on an elected council-mayor form of local authority. A muncipal council acts as a legislative branch of government while the municipal executive board constitutes the executive branch.
Local authority functions may be classified into 3 types: statutory, discretionary and those specified by other legilstaion. The laws that establish each particular form of local authority specify statury and discretionary functions. All forms of local authority perform similar functions, although urban local authorities are responsible for more complex services than their rural counterparts.
Local authority revenue is drawn from four main sources: tax collection; fees, licenses and fines; donations, grants, loans and subsiidies by national government; and revenue from properties, public utilities and local authority enterprises (1)
Among the environmental problems emerging due to urbanisation, population growth and changing consumptions patterns in Thailand, solid waste management is one of the most common environmental problem that faces all areas including Nonthabuti Municipality. Since 1997, the local government of Nonthaburi have strongly campaigned for the reduction of waste generation through public relations and awareness campaign. These activities have resulted to reduce the overall waste generation by 5-10% in one year. Since then, the municipality have committed to continously address issues surrounding waste management by adopting a number of urban environmental approaches including technical and suasive.
The past seven years have seen phenomenal progress on the municipality’s environmental management system particularly with solid waste management. Since 2001, the local government of Nonthaburi has been consistent in widening its approach or methods in addressing waste problems taking into account the changing waste generation pattern and other implications of urban development.
The significant result of waste minimisation campaigns on selected communities have directed to the institutionalisation of community-oriented approach to waste management with underlying local policies to support the promotion of waste segregation at source and recycling. Public participation and awareness building were deemed as key features for the successful implementation as well as the strong political will of the local administration.
Community-based Waste Segregation and Recycling: A Kitakyushu Initiative Demonstration Project
In 2001, the local government of Nonthaburi through the assistance of the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment initiated a pilot project with the objective of increasing recycling rates by 20% and reducing solid waste generation in two communities namely Phibilosongkram and Suan Klang Muang consisting of 3 villages. Appropriate models for handling waste had been studied for the two model areas which include imposing collection fees for waste collection. After a series of meetings with the communities, a collection fee of 20 baht (0.5 USD) per household was agreed and imposed as well as the strict usage of colour-coded waste bags to practice segregation. Junk dealers operating in the municipality were also organised and included in the project as buyers of collected recyclable wastes in the community.
After one year of implementation, the pilot project has seen immediate positive improvements as recycling rates increased from 5% to 24 % and finally 37% percent respectively in one year. The two communities have reported earnings of around 4,000-5,000 THB (115-145 USD) monthly from household waste collection. These earnings are used to support the operating expenses of the waste management system and other community activities.
The success of the pilot project paved the way to scale up the practice in 30 communities around Nonthaburi. To date, waste segregation is widely practiced in the municipality as mandated in the waste management system.
Organic Waste Composting
With the bulk of organic waste generated by the municipality coming mostly from market sources, an advanced composting facility was constructed by the local government to implement sustainable organic waste management in Nonthaburi. The facility received aid and funding from the European Commission through the Asia Urbs Programme and technical consultation from the Bioagricoop Scrl. The project was also supported by the Reggio Emilia in Italy and the City of Barcelona, Spain. The construction of the facility took two years to finish and by June 2005 it was fully operational.
An average of 6m3 of organic waste is received by this composting facility daily and produces 5 tons of organic fertiliser per month. The existence of market opportunities for the compost product is supported by the fact that the municipality is partly rural and farmers are encouraged to use natural fertilisers. The selling price of the compost product is 2,000 baht/ton so that the facility earns a minimum of 10,000 THB (290 USD) monthly.
Infectious Waste Management
The year 2004 has seen Nonthaburi Municipality include the handling of biomedical wastes into their waste management system. A total number of 68 health care and public facilities are registered under the municipality which are provided with a collection and transport service for the accumulated infectious waste. Collection is done on a regular basis and properly disposed of through incineration.
It is reported that the municipality collects an average of 261,578 kilograms of hospital waste per year and earns an average of 2,354,200 THB (68,000 USD) for service and collection fee annually.
Vehicle Monitoring System
Modern automotive technologies are used nowadays to provide efficiency and environmental benefits. In 2005, Nonthaburi municipality upgraded its waste management system by applying Vehicular Monitoring System (VMS) to its waste collection trucks. This technology allows the municipality administration to monitor and check, on a real time basis, the location and route of its waste collection vehicles through the Global Positioning System commonly known as GPS. This system is installed inside the vehicles and provides greater efficiency in waste collection management. At the same time, it lowers the operating costs from speeding, excessive fuel usage and other disruptive activities caused by poor driving behaviour.
Currently, there are about 45 waste collection vehicles equipped with GPS, and residents and authorities alike are satisfied with the service collection in the municipality.
Nightsoil Management and Bio-fertiliser Plant
In 2007, under the Guideline of the Royal Development project, a Bio-fertiliser plant was constructed to process collected human waste residues from household septic tanks to an organic fertiliser. The treatment process adopted in Nonthaburi is based on using a bio-tank for anaerobic digestion of the sewage sludge leaving it for a period of one day. The reactor is then sealed and left for 28 days before the slurry is drained from the reactor to the sand beds. The remaining slurry on the sand beds is left to dry in the sunand is later used as solid fertiliser while the effluent filtered through the sand layer will be used as liquid fertiliser.
The facility is reported to produce 5 tons of organic fertiliser every month and earns an average of 7,500 THB (216 USD) monthly from sales and 20,000 THB (576 USD) for collections fees.
As a commitment for Kitkayushu Initiative for a Clean Environment, the municipality declared to decrease waste generation by 30% and extend livelihood opportunities by promoting waste segregation at source and household composting. Promotion of hazardous waste segregtion (flourescent lamps).
To achieve this commitment by 2010, the municipality will take measures such as:
1. Conduct a media campaign for wate segregation at sourse;
2. Promote community level training and involvement of informal sector;
3. Showcase the pilot activitiy to promote replication.
Achievement (as of 2008)
1.Achieved the target of 25% waste diversion rate and has set a new target of 30% waste diversion rate until 2010;
2. Intensive environmental campaign was initiatiated on waste segregation by using flyers, billboards, posters and brochures;
(1)Thailand Country Profile (http://www.environment.gov.au/esd/la21/guide/pubs/thailand.pdf)
(2) Sustainable Environmental Management in Nonthaburi, Thailand
(3) Cities and Sustainable Development. UNESCAP (http://unescap.org/esd/publications/Cities_Development.pdf)