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Inspired by the Eco-city: Wakatobi visits Muangklang

Inspired by the Eco-city: Wakatobi visits Muangklang
24/06/2011

Thailand

21 – 25 June 2011. After several months of preparing for the start of the actual implementation activities, a delegation from Wakatobi, Indonesia, was excited to be finally meeting their counterparts in Muangklang, Thailand, their best practice partner city. The participants, mainly representatives of the Wakatobi local government, spent four days in Muangklang, looking at the nitty-gritty details of waste management and exploring how best to transfer the host city’s concept to their own town.

You can only learn so much from reading documents – nothing beats the experience of seeing a project in action. The delegates from Wakatobi, many of them experts in waste management, were fascinated by the insights they gained throughout their stay in Muangklang. Of particular interest was the use of Effective Micro-organism (EM) in the overall waste management process, a simple and inexpensive way of purifying wastewater before it enters a river. In fact, the field visit gave the opportunity to observe many such simple solutions, for example the use of a grease-trap and garbage banks at local schools.

However, not just the practical aspects captivated the visitors. One of the secrets behind Muangklang resounding success has been the city’s communication strategy. The delegation felt inspired by the way the communication flow with the population was structured and by how local people were being involved in the day-to-day activities of caring for their town. The mayor of Muangklang had found a way of making waste valuable to citizens – a great encouragement to recycle!

Home again after those intensive days, the delegates felt that they had learnt a lot and would adjust their existing replication plan, taking into account the new information gained. Many more questions remained, however, and some expertise from Muangklang to help with the technical issues, would be much appreciated.