Thailand, Bangkok: struggling to clear garbage in flood crisis

Garbage piled up on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand

Garbage piled up on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Getty Images / WSJ

Industrial parks in Bangkok are being threatened after residents in Bangkok’s northeast demolish government-built levies to release the stagnant, garbage-ridden water that was building up in their neighbourhoods, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Flooded roads are preventing garbage collectors getting to many areas—raising fears over the risk of disease and over the blockage of drains, which is impeding the flow of water into the sea. Bangkok produces about 8,700 tons of rubbish a day—roughly a quarter of Thailand’s total. Added to that figure is the additional trash flowing into the city from northern provinces.

Now trash-strewn water is encircling the Bang Chan and Lat Krabang industrial estates where multinationals like Unilever, Nestle and Honda are operating. Several key industrial parks are already flooded, severely disrupting the supply of auto parts and computer components.

City governor, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, has ordered the municipal refuse collectors to work around the clock in their trucks and boats in an attempt to to prevent a bigger disaster, while teams of street sweepers scour the city to keep debris from clogging vital drains.

Concerns about disease spreading are also growing, CNN reports.

The country’s Ministry of Public Heath has distributed 20,700 test kits for leptospirosis, a severe bacterial infection that can affect areas where water has been stagnant for more than three weeks.

MOPH reported that up until November 7, more than 1.3 million people had become sick in provinces affected by the floods, of which athlete’s foot accounted for almost 70% of cases.

A group of young Thai animators has created a cartoon series called RooSuFlood to simplify flood information and help people prepare.

Episode four of the RooSuFlood series includes some water and sanitation-related health messages.

Source: James Hookway, Wall Street Journal, 08 Nov 2011 ; CNN,
09 Nov 2011 ; Daniel Schearf, VOA, 08 Nov 2011

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