Plastic use soars after dine-in ban
Single-use plastic bags are making a comeback as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
After their use was restricted at the start of the year, plastic bags can once again be seen littering the streets of greater Bangkok as people begin to rely on take-outs and food delivery services to adhere to the government's social distancing guidelines, said director-general of the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Pralong Dumrongthai.
According to the PCD, the volume of plastic waste has increased significantly since March 26, when the government banned restaurants from serving dine-in patrons. "Most of the waste is ready-to-eat food packages, plastic utensils and glass," he said.
According to him, the problem is compounded by the absence of a public campaign to educate people about the importance of sorting their waste.
"People tend to combine their garbage, often mixing food scraps with recyclables, which makes it harder for garbage collectors to sort it out and recycle," he said.
Mr Pralong urged people to ask restaurant staff to use as little plastic as possible to pack food.
"Above all, remember to only buy the food you need," he said.
In another development, the National Office of Buddhism ordered temples nationwide to halt religious ceremonies and Songkran festivities to prevent crowds from gathering.
Narong Songarom, director of the National Office of Buddhism, said all merit-making activities should only be done in line with national preventative measures.
He added monks who cannot receive food apart from during daily almsgiving will be aided by donations.