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EU-Thai campaign to reduce plastic pollution in Phuket

EU-Thai campaign to reduce plastic pollution in Phuket

PHUKET: A campaign has been launched in Phuket between government authorities and the European Union to educate on best-practice waste management proceedures in an effort to reduce plastic pollution.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 5 April 2022, 03:15PM

The project, which will be an ongoing collaboration between the organisations, was officially launched yesterday (Apr 4) at a press conference at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, presided over by Deputy Governor Amnuay Phinsuwan.

The project aims to reduce plastic waste and encourage appropriate waste separation by promoting the benefits of recycling, otherwise known as a circular economy, within households and businesses across the island. It is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and operated by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Thailand together with the Phuket Municipality.

The project will leverage experiences and results from similar, previous initiatives whereby representatives from the EU and GIZ will collaborate with local government officials and members of the community to learn about their existing practices to waste management, to then identify ways that these can be improved upon.

Members of the EU, BMZ and GIZ joined students from the Prince of Songkla University Phuket Campus, Phuket Environment Foundation and KHUN Foundation yesterday in a series of interactive panel discussions to raise awareness of the campaign.

The discussions highlighted that the use and subsequent disposal of single use plastic items increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as several enforced lockdowns resulted in people being stuck at home more frequently, turning to food delivery services which are renowned for their over-use of single use plastic such as straws, wrappers, containers and bags.

The session further emphasised that single use plastic is a waste source that is very difficult to decompose which, when discarded irresponsibly and impacted by the sun, will fragment into tiny pieces known as microplastics. These will then infiltrate soil, water sources and can lead to water and food contamination which, ultiamtely, is ingested by people.

It also stressed the devastating impact it has on the environment and wildlife and how so many sea creatures are increasingly being found with huge amounts of ingested plastic waste, which often leads to their deaths.

Dr Giuseppe Busini, Ambassador and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, explained that the EU has been seriously trying to tackle the issue of plastic pollution globally since the introduction of the EU Plastics Management Policy in 2018.

He added that similar projects promoting the use of a circular economy to manage the issue of marine debris have been established where an exchange of knowledge across seven partner countries in Europe and Asia has proven successful. He emphasised a strong desire for Phuket to adopt this approach to work towards eradicating the problem of plastic pollution as outlined in the project roadmap.

His words were echoed by by Dr Bernd Christiansen, Diplomatic Advisor for the Ministry of Agriculture at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Thailand. Dr Christiansen stressed that plastic marine pollution is very much a global issue that requires an efficient deployment and use of resources to combat. He also recommends education and the adoption of a circular economy to drive recycling efforts as opposed to irresponsible disposal of single use plastic items in particular, adding that the pilot project details the best approach to managing and reducing plastic waste within homes and businesses.

Mr Amnuay commented that Phuket is renowned as a leading worldwide tourist destination that expects to see an increase in the number of international visitors as the situation with COVID-19 improves and precautionary health measures are further relaxed. However, he also cautioned that with more tourists will come an increase in the use of single use plastics.

He added that campaigns such as this one can help raise awareness among everyone within public and private sector organisations and the wider general public and that if everyone cooperates responsibly then Phuket can achieve its long-term goal of becoming a truly clean city.

After the plenary sessions were complete, a series of stalls manned by students were made accessible in the foyer which focused on sustainable waste management and food sources.

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christysweet | 08 April 2022 - 10:34:09

Of course  it could just be the accepting culture in Thailand, one of the few things I can credit it for. Meanwhile, plastics are now being found in lung tissue. I don't see how an artificial estrogen mimicker inundating the environment could NOT be affecting the biology  of mammals.

DeKaaskopp | 07 April 2022 - 12:46:06

@Christysweat   I love your theories.  Duh !

christysweet | 06 April 2022 - 17:41:34

Plastic was an unintended by-product of an estrogen replacement research. Maybe that's why there are so many tran-sexuals in Thailand-BPA saturating the environment. 

JohnC | 06 April 2022 - 09:21:05

Reducing pollution anywhere is a good initiative but they will have their work cut out for them in Thailand where it is considered 'normal' just to dump whatever rubbish you have anywhere except where it should be put. Granted the local councils don't provide enough bins in public places. Sadly even when there are bins locals throw their rubbish on the ground instead of walk 10 steps t...

Kurt | 06 April 2022 - 01:56:58

christysweet, you are right. But walking through migrant workers camps, showing you how Thai Government doesn't care less about migrant workers health situation/living circumstances makes it understandable that migrants not put efforts/energy in thinking about Thai environment in return. It needs 2 hands to clap. Right?

christysweet | 05 April 2022 - 17:51:59

In my observations, carelessly discarded waste increases proportionately with proximity to migrant worker camps.


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