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DNP readies for purge of plastic waste

NATIONWIDE: The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) will launch a campaign to ban plastic bags and styrofoam food boxes in all national parks from Aug 12 to reduce rubbish that pollutes the nature reserves and threatens wildlife.

environmentpollution
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 7 August 2018, 09:22AM


A total ban on one-use styrofoam boxes and plastic bags goes into effect at every national park in the country, starting Sunday (Aug 12), the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. The aim is to prevent trash like this – a one-day rubbish collection on the road to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. Photo: Bangkok Post / File

A total ban on one-use styrofoam boxes and plastic bags goes into effect at every national park in the country, starting Sunday (Aug 12), the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. The aim is to prevent trash like this – a one-day rubbish collection on the road to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. Photo: Bangkok Post / File

“It is an ambitious plan. But we aim to reduce single-use plastic and styrofoam material by three million pieces. We want this campaign to become a model for other places to reduce plastic garbage, Jongklai Worapongsathorn, the DNP’s deputy chief said yesterday (Aug 6).

Tourists will be banned from bringing in plastic bags, straws and utensils as well as styrofoam food boxes into the parks, Mr Jongklai said.

“If this causes inconvenience to tourists, we’ll lend them cloth bags and other materials which are more friendly to the environment,” said Mr Jongklai.

However, Mr Jongklai believed about 10 million people, including visitors and vendors, will go along with the campaign.

The department also plans to adopt measures to reuse and recycle garbage, hoping to make itself an example-setter in waste management.

The DNP oversees 154 national parks across the country, many of which are major tourist destinations that generate significant revenue. Up to 16mn tourists visit national parks annually, according to the DNP.

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However, visitors do not only bring in cash, but rubbish, much of which are is bags and styrofoam food packages. Most of this waste is left in parks. Plastic bags and styrofoam take at least 500 years to decompose. thereby hurting the environment and animals.

At Khao Yai National Park, the most popular land-based park, officials are finding an increasing amount of wild animals having died of digestive system failure. Park officials have found most had pieces of plastic waste in their stomachs and intestines, Mr Jongklai said. Earlier this year, people were shocked after learning about the death of a male short-finned pilot whale, which had up to 80 plastic bags weighing 8 kilograms in its stomach.

According to the Pollution Control Department, Thailand generates two million tons of plastic waste a year, or 12% of the total garbage. Only 25% of plastic waste is properly disposed of, meaning the other 1.5mn is left polluting the environment.

Ocean Conservancy, a US-based environmental advocacy group, said in its 2015 report that Thailand, along with China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are responsible for more than half of the 8mn tons of plastic dumped into the world’s oceans each year.

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BenPendejo | 07 August 2018 - 15:30:22

Sorry Xonax, antiquated thinking coming from someone that is accustomed to the single-use throw-away society. It is past time for global reduction in the manufacturing and use of plastic. The oceans are choking on it, and locals aren't bothered by it, and police cannot enforce anything. We all did fine without plastic before, we hated the change into it, and we will get used to the ban.

Kurt | 07 August 2018 - 15:01:00

"It is a ambitious plan"..   It is not! As long there are no penalties, same as for smoking on the beach, and more important will be the absence of park rangers who will catch violators. Foreign tourists are use to this practice at home, the thai are not.  Park rangers don't fine 'poor' thai families who ignore the new rule. Thailand has to do better, not only in National Par...

Xonax | 07 August 2018 - 11:14:33

Good luck with that.  How will parents then carry their childrens dirty diapers out of the parks, if not in a plastic bag?

Plastic is here to stay, so why not educate the people and impose heavy fines, like for smoking on the beach?  When will the people in charge wake up and create a long waited plastic recycling system instead?

BenPendejo | 07 August 2018 - 10:56:23

This is great!, but we've all learned that Thai gov't is big on imposing new rules, but absent when it comes to enforcement. I hope this will include NaiYang, where the road is lined with vendors that package every bit of their goods in plastic and styrofoam. Locals simply get their food, go to the beach, eat, and leave their trash behind. It is a way of life that must change.

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