After numerous stories this year about sea creatures in Thailand dying after swallowing plastic waste, the list of plastic pollution victims appears to have crossed over from water and up onto land this week.
Photos of plastic waste-infused elephant poop in Khao Yai, a national park known as the home of 300 wild elephants, has sparked much criticism among netizens.
In a Facebook post published by user Benchapol Lorsunyaluck on Tuesday, bags of chips and various used plastic goods can be seen clearly inside a large pile of, what Benchapol claims to be, elephant dung on Highway 3077 — the road that cuts through the Unesco World Heritage-listed park.
“Plastic waste … not only turtles, whales, and dolphins eat it,” he wrote in the caption.
While most netizens pointed out how heartbreaking the sight was and agreed with Benchapol’s message about taking better care of the environment, a few other commenters wondered if the elephant “stole” the snacks from the trunks of travellers’ cars.
“There’s probably still a lot of undigested waste stuck in his stomach,” wrote one netizen.
“I saw a clip yesterday of an elephant eating snacks that were left in the back of someone’s truck. He ate a lot of plastic,” wrote another.
Another commenter simply responded with:
Yes, netizen, we completely agree.
In June, Thailand’s National Park Office announced a ban on plastic bags and styrofoam containers in the country’s zoos and 154 national parks in an effort to “beat plastic pollution.”
This incident, however, has got netizens wondering how effective that ban is turning out to be.
Meanwhile, many companies such as Tesco Lotus and 7-Eleven have introduced initiatives to reduce plastic-use but their intentions have also been scrutinized for appearing to be more self-serving than environmental.
Better policies to permanently change the kingdom’s double-bagging habits still remain, indisputably, greatly needed.