The campaign will, also for the first time, include all retailers on the island signing up to a co-ordinated, Phuket-wide initiative to reduce plastic bag use. (All the major retail chains signed a memorandum of understanding in December last year, agreeing to sign up.)
SEEK member and Head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Southeast Asia, Dr Robert Mather, said the plastic bag campaign was one of many environmental sustainability programmes now under way to ensure Phuket’s environment meets future demands placed on it.
“This partnership between the Phuket authorities, SEEK and business is vital to maintaining Phuket’s positioning as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. We must act now to ensure Phuket’s environment is clean, green and sustainable in 20 years’ time.
“The plastic bag campaign is immediate and tangible evidence that with the right support, education, strategies and commitment, we are turning this problem around,” Dr Mather said.
SEEK is asking the retailers to:
Stop giving away plastic bags except for fruit, meats, fish and bakery products.
Sell re-useable bags to customers at a cheap price to make them good value and accessible.
Commit to distributing fully bio-degradable bags;
Introduce a points system for consumer education;
Encourage suppliers to carry products in large packs, reducing the amount of plastic packaging.
Getting all major retailers in Phuket to sign up for the campaign – Tesco Lotus has agreed to an initial step of having one plastic bag-free day a week – has taken considerable effort but received strong support from local authorities, particularly Governor Tri Augkaradacha.
For more information contact Sean Panton at email@example.com or call him at 083 391 5869; or see the websites myseek.org and keepphuketgreen.com.