A ban on plastic bags, Styrofoam food containers and other single-use plastics at 154 national parks in Thailand goes into effect today, in an effort to reduce the amount of rubbish polluting the natural environment and threatening wildlife.
Use Of Environment Friendly Materials Encouraged
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) ban also covers plastic utensils, straws, capped water bottles and essentially any plastic item that is typically used one time and then thrown away.
It aims to encourage the use, rather, of materials which are more environment friendly and which can be re-used again and again; it says it will even lend tourists visiting the national parks cloth bags to use. A series of banners produced, in Thai initially, to help spread awareness of the plastics ban prompts people to think of the harm the plastic they throw away will do to the environment and to instead act in an environment friendly way.
The DNP is estimating the ban on single-use plastics will help reduce plastic waste by around 3 million items, and that at least 10 million people will join the effort in its first year of implementation – including park visitors, officials, vendors and the general public. It hopes the new initiative will become a model for other organisations and locations to reduce plastic garbage.
Hoping to set an example in waste management, the department also plans to adopt measures to re-use and recycle rubbish.
Officials at Khao Yai National Park, one of the country’s most popular parks, have been finding more and more wild animals that have died of digestive system failure, their stomachs and intestines containing pieces of plastic waste.
The Pollution Control Department says Thailand generates about 2 million tons of plastic waste a year, but only 25 percent of this is properly disposed of.
The convenience of plastic bags, Styrofoam containers and the like is obvious, but these items do not readily break down in the environment. Estimates on the time it takes a plastic bag to decompose range from 20 to 1,000 years while for Styrofoam it’s anywhere up to 1 million years.