Plastic reduction efforts 'a success'

Plastic reduction efforts 'a success'

Govt sets roadmap to stamp out pollution

A shopper heads home with bagfuls of shopping. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
A shopper heads home with bagfuls of shopping. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) says the first year of the country's effort to reduce plastic waste has been successful and has received cooperation from the business sector.

"Our plan to reduce plastic waste is in its early steps and voluntary, but we received strong cooperation," said Suwanna Tiasuwan, deputy director-general of the PCD at a meeting to mark the first anniversary of government's campaign to reduce plastic waste.

"We see voluntary bans of single-use plastic bags and we see better law enforcement related to plastic waste management."

Wednesday was also World Environment Day.

Among the achievements is a massive 80% reduction in plastic rings used in drinking water bottle caps thanks to the cooperation of five major companies.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is drafting a plan to ban the use of microbeads which are minuscule plastic particles of less than one millimetre used in cosmetic products.

The Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment last year formed a subcommittee to manage plastic waste.

The panel is jump-starting national efforts to reduce plastic waste and promote reusing and recycling, as well as stopping the use of materials such as plastic shopping bags, drinking straws, single-use plastic cups, and styrofoam food containers.

The items are among priorities of a national roadmap.

The roadmap also sets the target that all plastic waste in Thailand must be fully recycled by 2027.

Paradorn Chullachart, president of the Plastic Industries Association within The Federation of Thai Industries, said the first year was a watershed moment for Thailand in reducing plastic waste.

He said the business sector is working with state agencies to develop a so-called "Plastic Material Flow Database" that shows the source, movement and cycle of plastic products and waste. Plastic waste is a major environmental problem because it takes hundreds of years to degrade.

However, only 0.5 million tonnes of plastic waste in Thailand, from 2 million tonnes of plastic waste generated, was recycled last year, according to PCD data. The Environment Ministry has created the National Roadmap to Tackle Plastic Waste 2018-2030. The roadmap was in line with a cabinet resolution issued on April 17.

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