Thailand plans to eliminate 3 types of plastic this year

Garbage piled in the Koh Lan landfill matches the sloping hills behind. Photo: Ajith Srinivasan / Coconuts Media
Garbage piled in the Koh Lan landfill matches the sloping hills behind. Photo: Ajith Srinivasan / Coconuts Media

Thailand aims to rid itself of three types of plastics by the end of this year.

The manufacture and use of plastic cap seals, small particles called microbeads and plastic  that doesn’t degrade naturally will be banned before year’s end under a new plan announced yesterday by the head of the Pollution Control Department.

The plan, which was approved Tuesday by the interim cabinet, further calls for prohibiting four other types of single-used plastics by 2022: ultra-thin plastic bags, take-away styrofoam food containers, plastic cups and straws, according to department chief Pralong Damrongthai.

It then goes full pie-in-sky after that with a goal of 100-percent plastic reuse by 2027, a highly ambitious target considering Thailand reused only about one-quarter of all waste produced as recently as 2017, according to department data.

However, it may be a good shove in the right direction as a 2016 foundation study predicted there will be more waste than fish in the ocean by 2050 if things continue at the current rate.

Pralong said there are three parts to the plan: decreasing plastic pollution at the source, reducing single-use plastics and better manage what waste there is.

Plastic accounts for about one-tenth of Thailand’s 27 million metric tons of waste produced annually, according to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Planet Plastic: Thai citizens suffer from plastic addiction and poor waste management (VIDEO)

Of that 2 million to 3 million metric tons of plastic waste, only 0.5 million of which are reused or recycled. The rest finds its way to landfills or the ocean.

“Though most plastic can be recycled, our system of garbage collection and management is so terrible that our plastic trash doesn’t reach the recycling process as much as it should,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia director Tara Buakamsri recently told Coconuts Bangkok.

A recent ranking by research firm ValueChampion placed Thailand at the bottom of green cities in the Asia-Pacific region, worse than all its ASEAN neighbors including Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

It Ain’t Easy Being Green: Thailand rock bottom among Asian-Pacific countries in new study

Want to learn more about Thailand’s problematic waste management? Check our short documentary about the “great” 19,200sqm Koh Lan landfill, located smack dab in the popular tourist island here:


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