Businesses, TAT plan to curb plastic

Businesses, TAT plan to curb plastic

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to join with businesses in the tourism sector to reduce single-use plastic materials by 50% in three years under its new campaign called "National Cleaning Declaration".

The TAT is the latest agency to pledge to spearhead a waste-reduction effort after the Marine and Coastal Resources Department announced last week it was planning to curb marine waste, including plastic debris, by 50% by 2027 amid growing concerns over plastic waste in the country.

Under the National Cleaning Declaration, those businesses will be asked to reduce single-use plastic materials in their goods and services, TAT governor Yutthasak Suphason said yesterday.

The agency is planning to seek cooperation from hotels, restaurants, Airports of Thailand Plc and PTT Global Chemical Plc, an expert in environmentally friendly innovations in the chemical business field.

The idea is to handle plastic materials at all stages from use in restaurants and hotels to plastic rubbish awaiting disposal.

The TAT's efforts are not only because of recent news about the death of a pilot whale caused by 80 plastic bags found in its stomach in Songkhla, but the agency also wants to see better waste management across the tourism industry, Mr Yutthasak insisted.

Thailand has huge amounts of plastic waste. Its 66 million people use two plastic bags a day on average, according to the Plastic Institute of Thailand.

In one year, Thai people use 9,750 plastic glass, 8,000 plastic bottles and 5,000 plastic straws, the institute said.

The TAT will focus on these materials, asking hotels and restaurants to help control their use, Mr Yutthasak said.

This may lead to extra costs, but the TAT will find ways to limit the burden, he said.

In fact, Mr Yutthasak suggested, tourism service providers can use this new campaign as a selling point because many tourists, especially Europeans, are concerned about environmental protection.

"Conservation-related activities can be sold as tourism packages," Mr Yutthasak said, adding a new trend next year will be "participation tourism" in which tourists will be encouraged to take part in environmental activities.

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