BANGKOK – On the occasion of the International Plastic Bag Free Day, Thailand has pledged to ban plastic bags thinner than 36 microns, Styrofoam food containers, plastic straws and single-use plastic cups within 2022.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, speaking from parliament house in Bangkok said his government has set out a 2018-2030 roadmap to reduce and then end the use of disposable plastics.
He said that in 2022, a ban will be imposed on styrofoam packages and single-use plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, straws and cups.
Presently operators of retail outlets in Thailand have helped reduce the use of plastic bags with anti-plastic campaigns which resulted in Thailand reducing the use of plastic bags by 2.7 tons or 1.5 billion plastic bags in the past 10 months.
Thailand’s government will promote environmentally friendly materials in place of plastic products to reduce plastic waste. Governmental organizations are campaigning against the use of plastic bags.
Meanwhile, people in general should cooperate by rejecting plastic bags at convenience stores and department stores, the prime minister said.
“The government plans to shift its measures from reduction to cessation so that the 2022 goal can be achieved sooner,Gen Prayut said.
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Thailand is the world’s sixth biggest contributor of ocean plastic waste, while China is the largest. Thailand generates 1.03 million tons of plastic waste per year, with over 3% of that finding its way into the ocean, according to Tara Buakamsri, Thailand country director for Greenpeace.
Of the country’s total waste, plastic accounts for 12%, higher than China’s at 11%. A survey by the government in 2017 found that on average Thais each use eight plastic bags per day, which equates to around 198 billion per year.
“Most people, especially the middle class people, know how to segregate waste, how to reuse and how to recycle, but because of how many products they use in their daily life, they just throw a lot away,” Tara said.
Source: Bangkok Post, Nikkei Asian Review