Nan Old City – Thailand

Social-function based waste management

During the high season, Nan old city has encountered ‘Overtourism’ from time to time, especially on public holiday and weekend. With a high volume of visitors, Nan municipality has arranged an evening outdoor market at the old square to extend capacity to receive visitors and to maximize the benefit for locals. However, it has generated unprecedented type and volume of waste. With its limited capacity, the municipality tried to find a solution to deal with the problem. So, it set up waste separation facilities inside the market to separate the waste into 9 types. However, it still had a problem because separating waste into 9 types is quite demanding for the visitors. Therefore, the municipality recruited volunteers to position at the waste separation station to help the visitors. It turned out that elderly people are the group that are the most enthusiastic. Hence, the municipality has seen an opportunity to help this group to have an extra activity, and to be able to earn a small income while contributing to sustainable waste management in their spare time. The outcome is very impressive, since these people have a strong connection to and appreciation for the city. As a result, residual waste from the old square was reduced from around 1 -1.5 tons per day to around 0.2 tons per day, and the recyclable waste can be sold to junk shops. Also there has been generated extra income which has been used as a fund to support volunteers at the market and support local needs such as a scholarship for poor children.

Keywords: elderly engagement , social impact , waste management , market, stakeholders

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