Working on the waste

It can be very difficult to avoid producing waste and wastewater in our lives. Occasionally, we are not quick enough to stop the cashier from putting a small milk bottle and a straw into a plastic bag. Or when we order our new laptop online, it comes to our office encased in huge amounts of plastic packaging, a carton and even Styrofoam. Not to mention that we produce wastewater everyday just by taking showers and going to the toilet.

In Thailand, the amount of waste and wastewater has been increasing yearly and much of it is not being treated properly, according to a study by the Pollution Control Department. What happens when waste and wastewater are not managed the way they should be? Not only will they intensify the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission issues we are facing, but we will also miss the chance to retain the value of the resources we use.

So, what are we doing with these challenges?
There have been ongoing efforts at every level of society to tackle this global issue. On the international stage, countries came together in Paris in 2015 and formed their goals to reduce GHG and adapt to climate change, known as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The following year, the Thai government declared waste as an item on the national agenda.

One of the strategies Thailand has been exercising is to promote and integrate sustainable measures in its policies and plans. Municipal solid waste and domestic wastewater are one of the country’s focus areas. Thus, the Pollution Control Department, the Department of Local Administration, local government organisations and other stakeholders defined various methods for climate-friendly waste and wastewater management in the sector’s action plan in support of Thailand’s NDC roadmap. This integrated waste and wastewater management plan is an attempt to minimise the environmental impacts of the waste sector.

“The valuable contributions from all of you today will help shape our country’s plan for better and more sustainable waste and wastewater management.” Ms. Anuda Tawatsin, Environmental Officer, Professional Level, Pollution Control Department at the NDC action plan workshop.

People have become more conscious of the waste problem in past years. Without a doubt, active participation from municipalities and communities will play a huge role in achieving both effective and environmentally friendly waste and wastewater management in Thailand.

All in all, changes at every dimension are needed to reach our mutual goals and that is what all of us are working on. Despite being out of our hands, there are always actions we can take.

“The Integrated Waste and Wastewater Management for GHG reduction” is a cooperation project between the Pollution Control Department and the waste component of the Thai-German Climate Programme. Aiming to accomplish Thailand’s NDC goals, the project promotes better management of solid waste and wastewater from households to reduce GHG emissions and contribute to the country’s GHG mitigation targets.

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