In collaboration with the Coca-Cola Foundation in Thailand, the 15th Office of Phuket Regional Environment, Koh Yao Yai sub-district Municipality and island locals supported IUCN in conducting a field study in the Satun Province. The goal was for local participants to gain knowledge and inspiration from successful practices of community based solid waste management.
As of June 2018, the partnership between IUCN and the Coca-Cola Foundation in Thailand facilitated the development of the overarching project: Tackling marine plastics in Thailand: from community-based actions to policies. Currently in Phase 1, the project focuses on the four villages of Baan Klong Hia, Baan Chong Laad, Baan Yamee, and Baan Klong Bon on Koh Yao Yai sub-district (KYY). The objective of the first phase is to develop and enforce a solid waste management plan for all four communities, and reduce the amount of solid waste transported to the landfill by 30% compared to baseline data gathered in 2018.
Following the "Kor Kuad at Koh Yao Yai" event, members of the four villages, KYY Sub-District Municipality, some community leaders and the established Community Based Tourism (CBT) group were selected to attend a training session to learn more details about community based, integrated solid waste management. Representatives were chosen from a variety of professions, such as teachers and public health volunteers, to ensure all aspects of a community could be involved in the learning experience and provide feedback from their different perspectives.
The first part was a half day workshop held by the 15th Office of Phuket Regional Environment on June 16. Two environmental officers led an interactive discussion with the 36 chosen locals about national sustainable practices and how they could be applied locally. Aspects such as Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3R’s) and other waste segregation methods were discussed, followed by a small activity where participants simulated separating waste with by matching the item to the appropriate category.
The following day all local participants and IUCN officers traveled to the Baan Khuan Don community. Located in the Khuan Don Sub-District of the Satun province, Baan Khuan Don is considered a success as it achieved the first solid waste management system learning center in Southern Thailand. Baan Khaun Don and KYY face parallel situations, where waste accumulated over years and now needs to be dealt with in a sustainable manner. Baan Khaun Don model was supported by the Natural Resources Management for Sustainable Environment, the 15th Regional Office of Environment, Khuan Don Sub-District Municipality and the community itself.
Upon arriving at the learning center, the executive members of the Khuan Don Sub-District Municipality gave a presentation that detailed the story of their program over the past decade. The various approaches taken to encourage sustainable living was reflected in the displays and learning stations along the area, which KYY members were encouraged to explore during breaks and in the designated activity session. Particular emphasis was given to the importance of cooperation between all members of the community.
“The municipality cannot induce change on their own, the general public also needs to take part to initiate a change in their own lives,” stated Mr. Wuthiwet Jiaranai, the Director of Environment and Public Health, Khuan Don Sub-District Municipality.
The president of the waste management center, Mr. Bancha Malinee, in Khuan Don sub-district discussed the challenges and success that his team faced in developing and implementing a feasible community based solid waste management system.
The people from Koh Yao Yai were inspired and encouraged by the successes of Baan Khuan Don, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in their own developing waste management system. The main takeaway was to extend the reach of solid waste management. Spreading awareness through informative booklets and stickers, signs in coffee shops and groceries, and involving the school children to encourage action at a young age. They hope to be on par with Baan Khuan Don in terms of environmental action in the upcoming years.