Published: Tuesday 15 December 1998

Privatising garbage disposal<s In a desperate attempt to contain growing pollution, the authorities in Bangkok have decided to lease city services worth over US $1 billion to private companies. Bangkok is one of the most polluted cities of Asia. "The city has tremendous environmental problems which the public services simply cannot cope with due to insufficient resources, said city governor Bichit Rattakul.

Rattakul was elected two years ago on an environmentalist platform. He said the government would retain the basic infrastructure, but private companies will be responsible for collecting garbage from commercial buildings, hotels, shopping centres, apartment buildings and construction sites. They will collect the fees from those who discharge garbage and will pass on the rubbish to the treatment facilities also owned and operated by the private sector. The solid waste treatment programme will cost at least US $926 million and the implementation is scheduled to begin next year.

Four water treatment plants are under construction, while one is already under operation. Tenders will also be invited for maintenance and operation of these plants by the private sector. Other areas where the private sector will be allowed entry are building of flood control channels and monitoring and control of air and noise pollution.

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