KANCHANABURI: Residents of a border village in the tourist district of Sangkhla Buri are calling for urgent action against lazy garbage truck drivers dumping their loads on a local road instead of at the nearby rubbish tip.
They say the tonnes of rotting rubbish not only generates a foul smell and attracts vermin, it blocks their access to nearby rubber and oil palm plantations.
Their complaints have been ignored by local officials, so they took their case to the media.
They told reporters on Thursday that many trucks with garbage from factories and tambon Wang Ka municipality dumped their loads on the concrete road before the entrance to the Phra Chedi Sam Ong village tip.
Resident Chan Thavornchatchawan said the piles of garbage blocked the road to local residents’ plantations. The stench attracted armies of flies and drove off workers hired to tap the latex and harvest palm nuts. They had to ask relatives to send their workers to help, or they would have no income.
Reporters saw an estimated 100 tonnes or more of factory and household waste dumped on the 3-metre-wide concrete road over a distance of more than 400 metres. It included toxic waste, light bulbs and chemical containers.
Myanmar scavengers sorting out garbage for sale said the trucks could not get to the dump site during the rainy season because the road was not sealed and was very slippery. Many trucks had become stuck in the mud. So the drivers just dumped their loads on the concrete road before the entrance to the tip.
Smoke from fires burning at the actual dump site during the dry season also made life unpleasant, even though their village was 4-5 kilometres distant.
Most of the garbage at the dump came from tambon Wang Ka municipality — 20-25 tonnes of it on average each day because Sangkhla Buri district was a tourist destination.
The municipality had no rubbish tip of its own so it had used the 6-rai dump site at Phra Chedi Sam Ong village for more than 20 years. Other rubbish came from 25 factories in the area.
Ms Chan said residents’ requests for local authorities to tackle the garbage problem at their village had gone unheeded.
News reporters are shown the garbage left on the road before the dump in Sangkhla Buri district, Kanchanaburi, on Thursday.(Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen)