Dept readies for purge of plastic waste

Dept readies for purge of plastic waste

Aims to clear parks of up to 3 million pieces

A total ban on one-use styrofoam boxes and plastic bags goes into effect at every national park in the country, starting Sunday, the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. The aim is to prevent trash like this - a one-day rubbish collection on the road to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. (File photo).
A total ban on one-use styrofoam boxes and plastic bags goes into effect at every national park in the country, starting Sunday, the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. The aim is to prevent trash like this - a one-day rubbish collection on the road to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. (File photo).

Come Sunday, a new Parks Department campaign will ban all styroform boxes and all plastic bags in all national parks, to prevent harmful mess like this.

"It is an ambitious plan. But we aim to reduce single-use plastic and styrofoam material by three million pieces. We want this campaign to become a model for other places to reduce plastic garbage, Jongklai Worapongsathorn, the DNP's deputy chief said yesterday.

Tourists will be banned from bringing in plastic bags, straws and utensils as well as styrofoam food boxes into the parks, Mr Jongklai said.

"If this causes inconvenience to tourists, we'll lend them cloth bags and other materials which are more friendly to the environment," said Mr Jongklai.

However, Mr Jongklai believed about 10 million people, including visitors and vendors, will go along with the campaign.

The department also plans to adopt measures to reuse and recycle garbage, hoping to make itself an example-setter in waste management.

The DNP oversees 154 national parks across the country, many of which are major tourist destinations that generate significant revenue. Up to 16 million tourists visit national parks annually, according to the DNP.

However, visitors do not only bring in cash, but rubbish, much of which are is bags and styrofoam food packages. Most of this waste is left in parks. Plastic bags and styrofoam take at least 500 years to decompose. thereby hurting the environment and animals.

At Khao Yai National Park, the most popular land-based park, officials are finding an increasing amount of wild animals having died of digestive system failure. Park officials have found most had pieces of plastic waste in their stomachs and intestines, Mr Jongklai said. Earlier this year, people were shocked after learning about the death of a male short-finned pilot whale, which had up to 80 plastic bags weighing 8 kilogrammes in its stomach.

According to the Pollution Control Department, Thailand generates two million tons of plastic waste a year, or 12% of the total garbage. Only 25% of plastic waste is properly disposed of, meaning the other 1.5 million is left polluting the environment.

Ocean Conservancy, a US-based environmental advocacy group, said in its 2015 report that Thailand, along with China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are responsible for more than half of the 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the world's oceans each year.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (28)

Phuket governor: Sri Panwa resort land ownership legal

PHUKET: The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket resort has legal title to the land, the provincial governor said on Wednesday, after the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) agreed to investigate the resort.

17:11

Govt to consider fresh stimulus measures to revive economy

The government is considering offering tax incentives to its middle and upper income groups to bolster consumption as part of new measures to revive an economy reeling under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

16:58

Thai workers leave for jobs in Israel

About 200 Thais left to work on farms in Israel on Wednesday on a flight arranged by the Labour Ministry, which declared the Covid-19 situation is "easing".

16:48