Minister: TV channels 'mean well' by blurring plastic bags

Minister: TV channels 'mean well' by blurring plastic bags

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, centre, hands out  reusable cloth bags to shoppers at a superstore in Bangkok on Wednesday, when many stores stopped giving away single-use plastic bags. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, centre, hands out reusable cloth bags to shoppers at a superstore in Bangkok on Wednesday, when many stores stopped giving away single-use plastic bags. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The environment minister has sprung to the defence of TV stations ridiculed on social media for blurring out single-use plastic bags to discourage their use, saying their decision was "well-intentioned".

National Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said on Friday it was easy for the online community to voice their criticism of this self-censorship by TV stations.

He defended the broadcasters' efforts by comparing it to the censorship of alcohol and cigarettes.

The minister said Thais were good at adapting and would find alternatives to plastic bags. He praised people who showed initiative and took their own containers with them when shopping, 

Many major stores stopped giving away single-use plastic bags on Wednesday.

Mr Varawut also addressed the issue of plastic and hazardous waste being imported in large quantities from other countries, and the setting up of Chinese-owned reprocessing plants in Thailand.

He said the ministry would take action. Thailand was not a dumpster for the world,  and immediate measures were needed to tackle the issue

“We will do our best to prevent such practice," he said, adding, "2020 is designated as the year of pollution reduction in Thailand".

Last month, eight TV stations agreed to promote the end of single-use plastic bags by blurring images of them on their channels. Their effort became the object of public ridicule on social media.


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