Municipal solid waste is a significant problem, particularly in developing countries that lack sufficient infrastructure and useable land mass to process it in an appropriate manner. Some developing nations are experiencing a combination of issues that prevent proper management of solid waste. This paper reviews the management of municipal solid waste in northeast Thailand, using the Tha Khon Yang Sub-district Municipality (TKYSM) in Maha Sarakham Province as a case study. The combination of rapid population and economic growth and its associated affluence has led to an increase in the use of consumer items and a concomitant increase in the production of municipal solid waste. In the TKYSM there is pressure on local government to establish a suitable waste management program to resolve the escalating waste crisis. The aim of this study is to provide viable solutions to waste management challenges in the TKYSM, and potentially to offer guidance to other similar localities also facing the same challenges. It is well established that successful changes to waste management require an understanding of local context and consideration of specific issues within a region. Therefore, extensive community consultation and engagement with local experts was undertaken to develop an understanding of the particular waste management challenges of the TKYSM. Research methods included observations, one-on-one interviews and focus groups with a range of different stakeholders. The outcomes of this research highlight a number of opportunities to improve local infrastructure and operational capacity around solid waste management. Waste management in rural and urban areas needs to be approached differently. Solutions include: development of appropriate policy and implementation plans (based around the recommendations of this paper); reduction of the volume of waste going to landfill by establishing a waste separation system; initiation of a collection service that supports waste separation at source; educating the citizens of the municipality; and the local government staff, and for the local government to seek external support from the local temples and expertise from the nearby university.
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