By MAYUREE SUKYINGCHAROENWONG
The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and other municipalities have said they needed time to study the issue before they could implement the new payment plan, which increases garbage collection fees from the current Bt20 a month per household for up to 20 litres of trash per day.
Thailand has been struggling to manage 23 million tonnes of garbage a year and has invested tens of billions of baht in garbage management. Bangkok alone produces 10,000 tonnes of garbage a day.
Bangkok Council member Chayawuth Siriyutwattana said that after the Royal Gazette published the Maintaining Town Cleanliness and Tidiness Act 2017 on January 15, he proposed an adjustment that included a fee hike. However, he said, it would take some time for councillors to mull over the proposal and the matter would be tabled at the council’s March meeting.
To implement the new law, the city must issue a regulation for its implementation in Bangkok, he said, adding that the new rate would not be enforced until that happened.
“The Bt350 monthly fee per household is high so the city will study the new law’s details first to clarify the implement method and to minimise the impact on people,” he said.
The city’s current collection fee brings in about Bt500 million a year to city coffers, although the city actually pays about Bt6.5 billion to manage and dispose of garbage.
“If the city could collect the higher rate, it could help to lessen the loss it is shouldering,” he said.
Meanwhile, Samak Jai-endo, from the Nakhon Samut Prakan Municipality Council, said a committee had been set up to study the impact of the new law. He said the municipality collected Bt30 a month per household for up to 20 litres of trash a day.
He said Tambon Pak Nam municipality collected up to Bt600,000 a month from 15,000 households that produced a total of 100 tonnes of trash daily.
The municipality hired a private company to collect and dispose of the trash for Bt1,200 per tonne, he said, so it was obvious that the collection fee could not cover the expense and the municipality had to shoulder the excess. If the increased rates are applied, it would be a big help to lessen the burden, he added.
According to the new law, every household in Thailand will have to pay a garbage collection fee of approximately Bt150 per month plus another monthly fee at Bt200 for garbage disposal.
The proposal also provides criteria on the methods to separate, store, transport and dispose of trash. It also stipulates a service fee rate and allows local bodies to make use of the collected garbage.
The new law also provides for a punishment of up to six months in jail and/or a Bt50,000 fine for those operating garbage disposal businesses without permission.
The penalty also covers those who fail to adhere local regulations and people who are assigned to collect, transport and dispose of garbage but fail to adhere to regulations.