Govt calls on volunteers to battle plastic trash crisis
The government has sought help from 230,000 environmental volunteers in its campaign to help reduce the scourge of plastic waste in the country.
"These volunteers will act as a good model [for conservation] and alert people to the crisis," permanent secretary for natural resources and environment Jatuporn Burutphat said during a two-day meeting of the volunteer's network, which ended on Wednesday.
Mr Jatuporn admitted the authority has limited manpower to carry on this uphill task.
The volunteers, he said, would run the campaign in parallel with 75 stores which plan to ban plastic bags across their 24,500 retail distribution channels from Jan 1 next year.
Apart of volunteers' disseminating environmental messages, the ministry will also use online communication channels such as Line, Facebook and Youtube to get messages across.
"People must become aware of the bad impact caused by daily routines such as offering alms in plastic bags to monks and selling goods contained in plastic bags," Mr Jatuporn said.
Every year Thailand generates up to 45 billion used plastic bags, according to the Pollution Control Department.
About 30%, or 13.5 billion of them, come from grocery stores while an equal amount comes from shopping malls, supermarkets and convenience stores.
Thailand has been named the sixth-highest marine polluter in the world.
About 2,172 tonnes of the 24 million tonnes of waste Thailand produces annually finds its way to the sea.
These plastics affected marine ecology, especially animals. There has been a rise in reports of fish and dugongs in Thai waters dying after they have ingested garbage.