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Songkhla rides the waste-to-power bandwagon

Jun 30. 2015
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SONGKHLA has come a long way from being a province with an overwhelming amount of accumulated garbage over a year ago to one that has taken a technology-savvy approach to eradicating trash via a waste-to-energy power plant.
In a move to support the government’s road map on garbage-disposal, Muang Ban Phru Municipality in Hat Yai district is pushing for a second waste-to-energy power plant in the province to be built on 30 rai of its 107-rai dumpsite. 
The dumpsite has been getting some 80 tonnes of garbage daily since it was created in 1999. Of the daily waste deposited, some 20 tonnes come from Muang Ban Phru and the rest from other municipalities (40 tonnes from Khor Hong, 6 tonnes from Ban Rai and 16 tonnes from Pha Tong). 
Up to 40 per cent of the dumpsite’s space is occupied by two sanitary landfill pits containing 350,000 tonnes of garbage, while a third pit will be opening soon.
Since the amount of daily garbage in the municipality is predicted to rise to 150 tonnes, thanks to economic and social expansion as well as a rising number of housing estates, building communal waste-to-energy power plants was proposed as a solution to the garbage challenge. 
Muang Ban Phru mayor Worawat Cheewa-isarakul said getting the private sector to invest in this project was also in line with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s road map, which requires Songkhla to earmark five locations for garbage disposal. 
In the first four locations, garbage will be used to generate power, Worawat said. These four locations are: Nakhon Hat Yai Municipality, which already has a power plant in place; Nakhon Songkhla Municipality; Muang Ban Phru Municipality; and Muang Sadao Municipality. The fifth location, Tambon Bo Tru Municipality, would use a landfill, he added. 
“The Muang Ban Phru 4.9-megawatt power plant project is proceeding fast because it is being set up according to the road map. The location is ready and there are no communities within a 5-kilometre radius,” he said, adding that Songkhla’s second waste-to-energy power plant should be up and running by 2017. 
P&C Group is currently holding public hearings for this Bt600-million project, while SBANG Corporation is coming up with a design for an environmentally friendly plant. Construction should begin by yearend, he added. 
Since the dumpsite comes within the territory of Tambon Ban Rai Municipality, the two municipalities will cooperate and have made agreements, that include the waiver of garbage-collection fees for Ban Rai, he said. 
Tambon Ban Rai mayor Weerapong Kuakul said the Ban Phru dumpsite would apply four disposal methods: sorting out solid waste; fermenting biological waste; incinerating; and using the landfill. 
Saying that this disposal plan also comes with a plan to cut down on municipal waste at the source, and recycling, he said there should be no problems if things go ahead as planned. As the area comes under Ban Rai’s jurisdiction, it has the authority to close any plant if there are any serious mistakes. 

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