The campaign to reduce single-use plastics, especially plastic bags, is an ongoing effort by the country’s government to reduce land and sea debris.
January 9, 2020
Thailand began the New Year with a ban on single-use plastic bags at some major stores to tackle the plastic crisis filling the country’s waste sites and choking its waterways. The country’s ban on plastic bags at major retailers began as soon as the clock struck midnight in Bangkok. A complete ban of bags that includes smaller shops will go into effect in 2021, as reported by a leading daily.
There has been a public backlash to the plastic waste crisis in Thailand after several animals were found dead with inordinate amounts of plastic stuck in their digestive tracts, including land and sea mammals like deer and dugongs, as The Hill reported. Green sea turtles were also found to have choked on plastic, according to France 24. The epidemic of man-made litter killing Thailand’s wildlife led to some soul-searching from government and business leaders in Thailand.
Major mall retailers and the ubiquitous 7-Eleven convenience stores will no longer distribute plastic bags under the new law. Instead, customers will have to bring in their own bag or pay a small fee for a reusable cloth-bag, according to the media reports.
The government’s effort to shame plastic bag use has already caused a drastic reduction in waste, according to government statistics. The ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said that Thailand reduced the use of plastic bags by 2 billion, or about 5,765 tons last year, in its campaign to get consumers to refuse plastic bags from stores.