This study focused on determining the barriers to effective municipal solid waste management (MSWM) in a rapidly urbanizing area in Thailand. The Tha Khon Yang Subdistrict Municipality is a representative example of many local governments in Thailand that have been facing MSWM issues. In-depth interviews with individuals and focus groups were conducted with key informants including the municipality staff, residents, and external organizations. The major influences affecting waste management were categorized into six areas: social-cultural, technical, financial, organizational, and legal-political barriers and population growth. SWOT analysis shows both internal and external factors are playing a role in MSWM: There is good policy and a reasonably sufficient budget. However, there is insufficient infrastructure, weak strategic planning, registration, staff capacity, information systems, engagement with programs; and unorganized waste management and fee collection systems. The location of flood prone areas has impacted on location and operation of landfill sites. There is also poor communication between the municipality and residents and a lack of participation in waste separation programs. However, external support from government and the nearby university could provide opportunities to improve the situation. These findings will help inform municipal decision makers, leading to better municipal solid waste management in newly urbanized areas.
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