WORD ON PHUKET ECO NEWS: Phuket authorities this week took the first steps towards introducing environmentaly-friendly technology and infrastructure in Phuket.
At a meeting at Phuket Community Hall, Vice Governor Niwit Aroonrat and the Committee of Public Utility discussed implementing alternative energy sources under a “Green City” project, which aims to introduce renewable energy sources, including windmills, solar cells and biodiesel, Phuketindex.com reported.
Discussions reportedly included plans for a railway connecting Phuket to Northern and Southern regions, which has actually been on the agenda for several years, throughout several governorships.
To qualify for Green City status as outlined in the Kyoto Protocal criteria have to be met on reducing varbon emmissions; air quality; water quality; electricity use and production; green space; recycling; transportation and local governments’ environmental perspective, among others.
Villagers on Koh Maprao (Coconut Island) — located a short distance from Phuket and with a limited power supply from the mainland — already use solar panels to power water pumps, and plans for a cultural center powered by renewable energy was approved by Phuket authorities last year.
The award-winning green design of the Orang Laut Cultural Center, designed by local architectural company Able Architects, incorporates solar cells in a structure designed to allow for natural cooling and ventilation to avoid the need for air conditioning.
Phuket authorities last year approved a 10-million baht budget for construction of the Orang Laut Cultural Center to go ahead this year.
Some private organizations in Phuket have been using green technology to reduce their impact on the environment for several years.
Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa was the first resort in South East Asia to be Green Globe 21 Certified and was the winner of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award in 2006.
Evason’s Managing Director Frank Grassmann said there is a growing trend among tourists to actively seek out environmentally-friendly resorts when booking holidays.
Environmentally-friendly initiatives at Evason Phuket include a carbon offset programme, recycling and a biomass generator fuelled by garden refuse to power air conditioning.
Novotel’s Phuket hotels operate green policies and have received Green Globe awards for their recycling and solar power projects aimed at reducing their impact on the environment.