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Chiang Rai Zero Waste: Participatory action research to promote source separation in rural areas

Manomaivibool, Panate, Srivichai, Mongkonkorn, Unroj, Pattayaporn, Dokmaingam, Pannipha
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2018 v.136 pp. 142-152
composting, developing countries, gardens, hazardous waste, households, infrastructure, local government, models, modernization, municipal solid waste, rural areas, villages, zero wastes, Thailand
Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is a challenge for local governments in developing countries. They often lack resources to modernize the hard infrastructures of MSWM. However, the social capitals can be mobilized to develop soft infrastructures for community-based management (CBM) of solid waste in rural areas. Chiang Rai Zero Waste (CRZW) was a participatory action research (PAR). Together with Chiang Rai Provincial Administrative Organization (CR PAO), lessons from previous interventions were used to promote source separation in the north of Thailand. CRZW asked households 1) to install a home composter, called sa-wians, 2) to separate recyclables, and 3) to use the products from composting in home grown garden. This study evaluated the effectiveness of this CBM in the 18 piloting villages. The formative evaluation affirmed the feasibility of the action and its benefits in terms of waste diversion. It also highlighted factors affecting its implementation such as the type of housing and the supports from the local governments at a subdistrict level. Future prospect of this model, its limitations and complimentary solutions to improve the sustainability of MSWM were also discussed. Reflecting on these observations, the management of hazardous waste was added in the next step to make the action more holistic.