Bangkok will face a tough task getting rid of more than three million tonnes of trash and treating huge volumes of dirty water left behind by the flood.
A key problem is that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration cannot send garbage trucks to flooded areas while 9.4 million people in those areas were expected to generate about 500 kilograms of rubbish each over a number of weeks.
“A suggestion for residents at this moment is to keep the garbage and all kinds of waste above water,” Worrasart Apaipong, acting directorgeneral of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s Pollution Control Department, said yesterday.
People were dumping all kinds of flooddamaged debris such as stuff made from plastic, books, furniture and electronic devices, while some 500,000 cars were partially submerged and would need to change some parts such as batteries and engine oil, he said.
The department is coordinating with many authorities in Bangkok and other inundated provinces to prepare for garbage disposal, he said.
Flood victims should also help the authorities by separating their garbage, as many materials like wood, glass, plastic and paper could be recycled or reused.
Another serious issue was contamination of the water supply and water resources for public use.
The department has checked the water at 149 spots in all flooded provinces – Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Bangkok.
Some 23 per cent of the water was low quality. Some areas such as Tale Chupsorn subdistrict in Lop Buri had the worst, with a dissolved oxygen level of only 0.00.5 milligram per litre.
Water for public use in many surveyed areas was basically bad. Of that, 24 per cent was of poor quality, 32 per cent rated fair and only 21 per cent good.
The department surveyed groundwater in 18 spots and found that 6 per cent was poor, 11 per cent was fair and 6 per cent was of good quality.
The department has distributed many forms of bacteria to help treat wastewater.
The quality of water in the Chao Phraya River was relatively poor with dissolved oxygen at only 1.3 milligrams per litre.
In many locations in Bangkok such as Bang Phlat the water was contaminated with oil, he said.