Thailand’s ministry of natural resources and environment fears that the public campaign to reduce plastic bags is “falling on deaf ears”, after the latest loss of a wild elephant which died with plastic bags in its intestines and stomach. Officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation found the male elephant, weighing about 3.5 tonnes and aged around 20 years old, dead at the Khao Khitchakut National Park in Chanthaburi province. They found plastic bags inside the animal’s carcass.
“How many wild animals need to die in order to raise the conscience of some people?” Varawut Silpa-archa wrote on his official Facebook Page.
An initial investigation found it died from a severe intestinal infection. Further laboratory tests will be done to firmly establish the cause of death.
The minister laments that people still turn a deaf ear to pleas to stop using plastic bags, and says calls to save wild animals’ lives from plastic are not reaching the Thai people. He wrote that he was “disappointed” by the report of the elephant’s death and dismayed to learn that the plastic waste found in its stomach was likely the cause of its death.
He said his ministry launched a campaign last year to reduce the daily use of plastic bags after the loss last year of a baby dugong, widely known as Mariam. The ministry came up with the Mariam project to save the rare marine mammal species, together with a plan to reduce plastic bag consumption.
It also launched “Every Day Say No to Plastic Bags” campaign, banning the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide. The ministry said the campaign was expected to reduce the disposal of 3.75 billion plastic bags per month. Its success has brought Thailand from 6th to 10th of the world’s largest plastic waste distributors to the sea.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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