By THE NATION
Photos of the square metal-grate contrivances circulating on social media drew criticism.
Citizens are concerned about hygiene, given the potential for spills of rancid, germ-ridden wastewater, and possible inconvenience to pedestrians.
But Aswin insisted in a Facebook post that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) pilot project involved a garbage-collection system that has been a success in Japan, France and elsewhere and costs very little.
In the project – dubbed “Ting Pen Tee, Kep Pen Wela” (Dispose garbage at the right place, to be collected as per time schedule) – people must drop their tied-up garbage bags in the cages within a specific time period for collection.
Should the garbage not be collected within the appointed time, citizens can call a designated phone number to report it.
Aswin pointed out that the cages are made of reused materials and thus low in cost.
They can be configured in different shapes to suit the character of any given neighbourhood.
He called them a solution to littering and animals rummaging through trash and, because the garbage is collected according to a strict schedule, it wouldn’t pile up.
Aswin said the city would also, among other measures, encourage people to separate different kinds of waste and to stop dumping trash in canals and rivers.
If the public disapproved of any aspect of “Ting Pen Tee”, he added, adjustments could be made.
The Thai capital, which celebrated its 236th anniversary on April 21, has encountered many problems amid rapid urban development – especially the issue of garbage management.
According to the BMA Environment Office, Bangkok City generated 1,920,294.96 tonnes of garbage from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 – or a daily average of 10,551 tonnes. Among its 50 districts, Chatuchak churned out the largest amount of rubbish, at 76,881.90 tonnes over the six-month period, followed by Bang Kapi at 60,942.61 tonnes and Bang Khun Thien at 60,570.05 tonnes.
The city’s goal of reducing garbage by 7 per cent a year will be difficult to achieve, admitted BMA Environment Office deputy director Chatree Wattanakhajorn. Most people are not yet cooperating with the BMA on reducing their waste, he said, while the city’s population also continued to increase.
Several government schemes are also driving waste higher, he said, including Bangkok being declared the world’s tourist city and the street-food promotion scheme. The city’s international reputation has attracted more visitors, who in turn contribute to the rise in trash, he said.