Chiang Mai recycling app, Japan helps marine debris research

The people of Chiang Mai, the second largest province in northern Thailand, can now use digital technology to protect the environment with an application to schedule waste for recycling pickups. Meanwhile, scientists from Japanese and Thai universities will collaborate on research about the problem of marine debris.

Officials in Chiang Mai have released a mobile phone application developed by a private waste-disposal startup. The application allows residents to request and schedule collections for different types of waste that can be recycled.

The application fills a gap in the city’s efforts to deal with waste in a more circular sustainable way. The government had already been working with garbage collectors, scavengers, and disposal companies on collecting and recycling trash.

What was missing was greater public participation – people and households separating their waste and ensuring it was sent for recycling instead of just being dumped.

“The challenge is how to allow people to participate in garbage disposal and recycle on a mass scale,” said Asanee Buranupakorn, Assistant Mayor of Chiang Mai.

“The application makes it easier for people to recycle rubbish or even make money from it. It also provides the municipality with data on the sources and types of rubbish in the municipality. This enables us to better manage and reduce garbage in the municipality, which is trying to tackle climate change and reduce emissions caused by waste,” he added.

Waste in the oceans is a global problem that is particularly acute in Southeast Asia. Last week, scientists from universities in Japan and Thailand announced the launch of a joint project to research the issue of plastic waste pollution in the oceans.

The project will use drones that will analyze how much plastic is in the ocean areas it surveys, and how it got there. It will look at the impact of microplastics on the environment, forecast future levels of contamination, and compile an action plan. The scientists will then advise the Thai government on how to reduce plastic pollution.

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