Thailand: Premruadee Charmpoonod, former mayor

Premruadee Charmpoonod, former mayor in Thailand

Growing amounts of waste were one of the most pressing problems in the Thai Phitsanulok Municipality during Dr Premruadee Charmpoonod’s term of office as mayor. A solution was found with a proper dumping site and the broad support of the inhabitants, who are keen to avoid waste and practice recycling. This programme, which was supported by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, soon became a role model for the region.

What did and does your work mean to you?

When I was elected as a mayor, everything was in my hands. But I always kept in mind that I have to find out what the people’s needs are. It is always about creating positive changes in the municipality for the people.

What made it difficult to achieve your goals?

There were always challenges. Is there enough money in the budget? Did we develop the correct plan? Can we get the acceptance and participation of the citizens? But especially in waste management we were very successful: the people were soon convinced that our project activities were necessary. I am proud of our joint achievements.

What was the greatest moment during your job as a mayor?

Of course when I heard that our waste management concept was recognised as a national role model in Thailand. We won the first price in the national Zero Waste Management Contest and the Dubai International Award for Best Practices. Our concept was even repeatedly promoted by ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). However, it is also a great moment for me every time I meet a citizen on the road who recognizes me and starts to chat with me about our city’s development.

How do you use your spare time?

Despite my age, I work most of the time. I try to reserve some time in the evenings just for myself. Then I exercise. When I do not see a single plastic bag on the lawn in the Memorial Park while doing sports, I feel reassured by my mission.

If you were ‘Superwoman’ for one day, what would you do?

I would use my power to fill the world’s population with love. Love gave me all the power to be successful and improve things in my municipality. I am sure the world would be a better place if there was more love.


        
    
A good start to the day: ex-mayor Premruadee Charmpoonod wants to keep herself informed about the news in Thailand and the rest of the world.
A good start to the day: ex-mayor Premruadee Charmpoonod wants to keep herself informed about the news in Thailand and the rest of the world.

        
    
Champoonod’s office is full of gifts from her supporters. She also collects souvenirs from the time when she was mayor and travelled often. Photos: Kittipong Kuasakul
Champoonod’s office is full of gifts from her supporters. She also collects souvenirs from the time when she was mayor and travelled often. Photos: Kittipong Kuasakul

        
    
Between 1992 and 2004, the city recorded an increase of 35 per cent in daily waste production going up to 40,000 tons. It was time to act.
Between 1992 and 2004, the city recorded an increase of 35 per cent in daily waste production going up to 40,000 tons. It was time to act.

        
    
During Charmpoonod’s term in office as mayor, a waste transfer centre and a disposal site with mechanical-biological pre-treatment was constructed.
During Charmpoonod’s term in office as mayor, a waste transfer centre and a disposal site with mechanical-biological pre-treatment was constructed.

        
    
Charmpoonod is well-known in Phitsanulok. The city’s waste management concept is impressive with low operational costs due to an elaborate fee system.
Charmpoonod is well-known in Phitsanulok. The city’s waste management concept is impressive with low operational costs due to an elaborate fee system.

        
    
Charmpoonod’s home town has various community recycling centres. The ex-mayor visits them often, consulting with the townspeople.
Charmpoonod’s home town has various community recycling centres. The ex-mayor visits them often, consulting with the townspeople.

        
    
Phitsanulok has around 85,000 inhabitants. The campaign to introduce ‘community based waste management’ reached a high level of public awareness.
Phitsanulok has around 85,000 inhabitants. The campaign to introduce ‘community based waste management’ reached a high level of public awareness.

        
    
Making children aware of waste management is helping to create a responsible new generation. Charmpoonod enjoys teaching children about this.
Making children aware of waste management is helping to create a responsible new generation. Charmpoonod enjoys teaching children about this.

        
    
Charmpoonod regularly visits smaller communities in Phitsanulok. The direct exchange with the townspeople is very important to her.
Charmpoonod regularly visits smaller communities in Phitsanulok. The direct exchange with the townspeople is very important to her.

        
    
‘Regular exercise keeps me fit and healthy!’ states Charmpoonod. Cycling in Phitsanluloke Municipality Memorial Park is her favourite sport.
‘Regular exercise keeps me fit and healthy!’ states Charmpoonod. Cycling in Phitsanluloke Municipality Memorial Park is her favourite sport.