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Thailand’s Pollution Control Department to Wage War on Single Use Plastic Bags

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BANGKOK – Thailand is looking to ban the use of very thin single-use plastic bags in 2022, followed by single-use plastic glasses and straws three years later, according to plans drafted by the Pollution Control Department.

It is also looking to reduce the use of thicker plastic bags, such as those given out by department stores, by 70% over the next 20 years and ban plastic bottle tops and toxic chemicals found in plastics used for food containers.

The measures are part of efforts to curb the increasing use of throw-away plastic and hopefully reduce the dumping of plastic waste into the sea.

They also form part of an action plan drafted by a sub-committee on plastic waste management chaired by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s permanent secretary covering 2018- 2037.

Wijarn Simachaya, the permanent secretary, said the panel gives a clear direction on how to reduce plastic consumption in the country, especially single-use plastic bags.

It is estimated that the country produces 3.2 million tonnes of plastic waste per year.

“This plan is in line with the government’s 20-year national strategy plan (2018-2037) for domestic plastic waste management. It is also in line with global Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030 to create a better environment,” he said.

The action plan, approved by the sub-committee on Dec 25, will be forwarded to the National Environment Board before going before the cabinet.

According to the Pollution Control Department Thailand produces 4.4 billion plastic water bottles per year, 60% of which are sealed with plastic caps.

EU countries aim to introduce a total ban on throw away plastics in 2021, due to concern about critical damage to marine ecological systems caused by marine debris.

Customers are urged to bring their own re-usable cloth grocery bags and will receive 8 bonus points on their One Cards when they do.

Meanwhile, Central Food Hall and Tops, the leading premium supermarket chain is announcing its wish to be a leading green retailer by joining forces with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Together they’ll launch and support the campaign “Tops… Follow your Heart and Save the Environment”, and will stop giving plastic bags to its customers on every 3rd day of the month from August to December 2018.

With all 277 branches nationwide joining the campaign, we will reduce the number of plastic bags by a whopping 3 million bags this year. We also stop using plastic straws and change to biodegradable straws made from corn starch. These 100% natural straws which will break down and degrade in just 6 months.

By Apinya Wipatayotin
The Bangkok Post