Mak lowers carbon footprint

June 13th, 20129:24 am @


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TRAT, 13 June 2012: Projects that should reduce carbon emission are lined up for Mak Island, a small island in the Gulf of Thailand.

The island that comes under Trat province should become the country’s first low carbon holiday island if a Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration project succeeds.

Mak Island is included in DASTA Area 1, Moo Koh Chang and Related Areas. The island covers an area of 3,800 acres. In terms of tourism it is still in the development stage with just 600 rooms in 35 accommodation establishments.

Koh Mak Tambon Administration Organisation president, Jakkrapad Tavethikul, told TTR Weekly that the island will start an Energy Park project to tackle waste disposal problems to replace landfill.

The Energy Park will be built near the present landfill site. Waste will be separated into recyclable items, glass, organic waste, foam and plastic and leaves and woods. Waste will be used to produce biogas, oil and refuse-derived fuel or RDF.

During the tourism season, the island has to process about three tons of waste daily.

Based on a study, recyclable waste should yield about Bt328,000 in revenue a year, while oil from plastic and foam would yield Bt368,000 a year; RDF, Bt548,000 a year and fertiliser from organic waste, Bt55,000 a year.

Biogas will be used as a household cooking fuel. Glass will be crushed to build roads and save building material costs estimated at Bt1,150,000 a year. The project also includes vegetables, poultry and fish farms.

The project costs Bt10 million to complete. It requires Bt7 million for the first phase with Bt4.5 million contributed by Dasta and Bt2.5 from TAO. Technical support comes from Kasetsart University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi and King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok.

Some resorts have been participating in carbon emission calculation and carbon offset programmes since the beginning of this year. The resorts have to collect a set of input values such as electricity use, fuel and waste amounts. The software, developed through cooperation between DASTA, Green Leaf Foundation and Germany’s GIZ, will calculate the carbon footprint which will help resorts to reduce their carbon output based on firm data.

DASTA Area 1 manager, Maj Gen Jarapim Dhiralaksh told TTR Weekly in a separate interview that the aim is to reduce the carbon footprint by 3% at the end of this year.

Mr Jakkrapad added that to reduce the carbon footprint the island will need to find alternative energy. Currently, the island uses electricity generated by diesel.

“In two years, we will use electricity from submarine cable, which will make the cost of electricity higher. Consequently, people might be motivated to use alternative energy,” he said.

Solar energy is another alternative but the technology is still expensive.

DASTA cooperates with academics to demonstrate how to produce electricity from old solar cells and batteries. They can be used to charge mobile phones.

Mr Jakkrapad said the island will also reduce the use of fuel-driven vehicles. Cycling is being encouraged, but most tourists prefer motorbikes that are heavy polluters. Electric bikes would be a solution, but so far sourcing a reliable supplier has been problematic.

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