Thailand decided to start the New Year with a ban on plastic bags from major stores. This solution is a part of a campaign by the government and retailers for a complete ban in 2021 as an effort to lower the waste and debris reduction from seas.
In the last year, the public’s awareness about the negative impact of this waste to the environment and animals has increased. This is also a result of the several incidents where animals, including a deer and a baby dugong, were found dead and with plastics in their bellies.
Thailand Seas Are Full of Plastic Trash
According to Thai minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-Archa, Thailand was the 6th among the top countries in the world that throws garbage in the sea.
In the past few months, thanks to the cooperation of Thai citizens, they’ve managed to drop down to the 10th place, claims Archa.
For the purpose of the campaign towards a plastic bag free Thailand in 2021; around 75 retailers stopped giving single use plastic bags in 25000 stores in the nation.
They’re motivating shoppers to buy reusable ones instead.
According to the ministry, the country lowered the usage of plastic bags by 2 billion or around 5,765 tons in 2019 during the 1st phase of the campaign to encourage customers to voluntarily refuse plastic bags in stores.
Is there Hope for a Plastic-Free Thailand?
One shopper said that at first, he wasn’t used to bringing a shopping bag when heading to the market and he came with bare hands because he simply forgot to take one. But, he claims when he remembers, he’ll take one.
For Varawut, the most challenging part would be the last 40 percent of the plastic bags that are used in rural areas and fresh markets.
He emphasizes that it won’t be easy to change the thinking and attitude of those people.