PM vows single-use plastic ban

PM vows single-use plastic ban

The government has pledged to ban styrofoam food packages as well as some other types of single-use plastic products by 2022, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

"The most important thing is to change people's habits. People need to become more aware [of plastic waste pollution]. So, I appeal to people to reject plastic bags offered in convenience stores and shopping malls. On the part of the government, we will tighten measures from asking people to reduce consumption to imposing a ban," Gen Prayut said after the cabinet meeting yesterday, ahead of today's International Plastic Bag Free Day.

The premier said the government had set out a 2018-2030 roadmap to reduce and then end the use of disposable plastics.

In 2022, a ban will be imposed on styrofoam packages and single-use plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, straws and cups, he said.

Government agencies will step up efforts to seek cooperation from the private sector, he added.

According to the prime minister, anti-plastic campaigns have helped cut around 1.5 billion plastic bags, weighing 2.7 tonnes, over a 10-month period to April this year.

According to the roadmap, this year the government started banning plastic cap seals, microbeads and oxo-degradable plastic bags.

The government also set a deadline of 2022 for all plastic products and packages to be recycled.

In another development, the Customs Department will remove more than 560 containers stuffed with electronic waste and plastic scraps, weighing 10,000 tonnes in total, from the country by the end of the year.

These containers have been left unclaimed at Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri district.

When the owners cannot be contacted to deal with the items, the department holds auctions for them on condition that the waste must only be shipped out of the country, said Yutthana Poolpipat, director of Laem Chabang Customs Bureau.

Mr Yutthana claimed that in the first six months of the year, the department had succeeded in ridding the country of 354 containers, weighing 6,000 tonnes, which also brought in more than four million baht in revenue from the auctions.

"The good point is that the exporters have to shoulder shipment expenses themselves and the system helps push out rubbish from the country," he said.

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