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Single-use plastic bag ban just the beginning – Thai Minister

The Thaiger

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Single-use plastic bag ban just the beginning – Thai Minister | The Thaiger
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“It is a huge New Year’s gift to Thailand and the world.”

This proud announcement from the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varavuth Silpa-archa voicing his strong support of the ban on plastic bags that kicked in yesterday.

75 companies, covering shopping malls, department and convenience stores, have stopped distributing single-use plastic bags. It’s a positive step as Thailand’s starts to battle against its own plastic bag addiction.

The new plastic bag ban links with a campaign, “Everyday Say No to Plastic Bags”, launched by the ministry in cooperation with the private sector.

Apart from the “Every Day Say No to Plastic Bags” campaign, the Pollution Control Department has introduced a 20 year action plan on plastic waste management up to 2037, which includes measures to crackdown on the use of seven plastic items and types – cap seals, Oxo-degradable plastic, microbeads, single-use plastic bags, polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers, plastic cups and straws.

Minister Varavuth says that public response to the current single-use plastic bag campaign was “quite enthusiastic” and the private sector, including the 75 private companies, have been “very cooperative”, although it may not be as convenient for their customers.

The Minister maintains that consumers had already started to change their habits by refusing to accept single-use plastic bags or now bringing their own bags to carry their shopping. He also foreshadows consultation with the Education Ministry to educate students from the youngest classes, up, about environmental concerns.

Since the launch of the campaign in 2019, Thailand has managed to reduce single-use plastic bags by more than 2 billion, or by 5.7 million kilograms, valued around 400 million baht. Much of the money saved has been donated to hospitals, particularly in a campaign started last year by CP All, the owners of the 7-Eleven franchise in Thailand.

Dr. Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a the well-credentialed marine biologist and vice dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, says that 50% of all plastic waste found in the oceans are single-use plastic bags.

“This year we are going to push for a law against single-use plastics. At the moment, 127 of 192 countries worldwide have enacted single-use plastics legislation. Hopefully, our single-use plastics law will pass next year. Every country started by eliminating the use of single-use plastic bags, because they can be replaced by fabric or paper. Meanwhile, clear plastic bags for food are quite difficult to eliminate, since there is no suitable alternative”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Bangkok

Anti-Prayut running event organiser hopes to avoid confrontation

Greeley Pulitzer

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Anti-Prayut running event organiser hopes to avoid confrontation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Organisers say they've already filled all spots for the run

A key organiser of the proposed anti-government running event, the “Run Against Dictatorship”, is urging its pro-government ‘spoiler event’ to ensure there’s no confrontation when the rival events are held on Sunday.

“Run Against Dictatorship” is “Wing Lai Lung” (วิ่งไล่ลุง) in Thai, which literally means “Run to Oust the Uncle,” a reference to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s nickname, “Uncle Tu.”

Tanawat Wongchai, the student activist behind the January 12 anti-government protest event, says he’s done his part to avoid tensions, and hopes the rival “Walk to Support Prayut” group won’t incite violence.

The run was originally scheduled to start at Thammasat University and include routes along Ratchadamnoen Avenue, but Tanawat says they were pressured by police to change the venue. It is now set to take place inside Wachirabenchathat Park, aka Suan Rot Fai, in north Bangkok’s Chatuchak district.

“We have retreated by organising the event at a faraway location in order to reduce the risks. We’ve done everything to avoid confrontation.”

Tanawat, who studies economics at Chulalongkorn University, says 10,000 people have registered for the run at this stage, which starts at 6:30am. Nearly two million baht has also been raised from around 3,000 runners who each donated 600 baht to cover the event’s costs. Those donors will receive a T-shirt and a medallion.

Meanwhile, the pro-government Walk for Prayut will be held inside Lumpini Park in central Bangkok on the same morning. It has been mostly organised online, and it’s unclear who the actual organisers are. No group or activist has stepped forward to claim credit so far. Messages to the event’s Facebook page were not returned, but in a Facebook post the unnamed organisers made their position clear:

“If you oppose the orange water buffalo who hate this country, we are friends,” the message read, an apparent reference to supporters of the opposition Future Forward Party, whose official logo colour is orange.

Tanawat says his group has three demands for the Prayut administration and will give them three months to respond: solve economic problems, amend the constitution, end nepotism.Depending on the government’s response, or lack thereof, Tanawat says, the group will consider future actions.

“Run Against Dictatorship” has spawned similar running events in 20 provinces on the same day, mostly organised by online groups, but Tanawat insists he is not responsible for those.

“We want it to be made clear that these are different organising teams from the people organising the Bangkok event.”

SOURCE: khaosodenglish.com

Anti-Prayut running event organiser hopes to avoid confrontation | News by The Thaiger

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Plastics

Not all Thais are happy with plastic bag ban

Greeley Pulitzer

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Not all Thais are happy with plastic bag ban | The Thaiger

“There are also thousands of street side vendors of drinks, including the most popular Thai iced coffee and Thai tea, which come in a plastic cup, with a plastic lid, with a plastic straw, in a plastic bag.”

After many positive reports, including from The Thaiger, it now seems that many Thai customers and vendors pushing back against the January 1 plastic bag ban and pointing out that not all Thais are happy, and for some it’s just damn inconvenient. 75 major Thai retailers have banned the passing out of plastic bags to customers.

But traders and customers at a fresh market in Prajuab Khiri Khan, near the Burmese border, have been telling local media that going without plastic bags is “inconvenient” and cloth bags are “useless for liquids and sticky stuff.”

Some say the ban only benefits big retailers and convenience store chains, who will save money, not the average Thais. One coconut milk seller lamented that banning plastic bags was terrible for her business. She said the very nature of selling different milk products necessitates many plastic bags. She doubted whether her customers would adapt and bring their own bags.

There are also thousands of street side vendors of drinks, including the most popular Thai iced coffee and Thai tea, which come in a plastic cup, with a plastic lid, with a plastic straw, in a plastic bag. Plus the array of other assorted drinks which are served directly in a plastic bag, with accompanying straw, for convenient carrying on a motorbike.

Vendors worry that it will be difficult to package other foods as well, like sugar, nuts and curry paste. And what about all those wet curry-style Thai takeaways?

A pork ball vendor also complained, saying he has to buy 10 kilograms of meat per day and carry it 40 kilometres to market.

“What if the stuff seeps out or gets damaged on the way back?”

SOURCE: Thai Rath

Not all Thais are happy with plastic bag ban | News by The ThaigerNot all Thais are happy with plastic bag ban | News by The ThaigerNot all Thais are happy with plastic bag ban | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Thai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban | The Thaiger

Shoppers across Thailand are showing typical Thai ingenuity in coping with big retailers’ recent ban on single-use plastic bags, bringing buckets, baskets and even a wheelbarrow to take their purchases home, many posting images on social media (below).

The ban, introduced on January 1 by all 75 members of the Thai Retailers Association, including malls, supermarkets and the ubiquitous convenience stores (7-11 and Family Mart), was a major victory for environmentalists. In Thailand people use an average of eight plastic bags a day.

Whilst the ban will make a big dent it has no impact on the thousands of mum and dad businesses around the Kingdom which use plastic bags to dispense their items.

Many of the pioneer retailers are now offering reusable bags for a small fee (7-11 sell them for 3 baht each), but thrifty shoppers saved money by grabbing anything available and celebrating their ingenuity online.

A man posed at a 7-11 in eastern Thailand with his purchases bundled in food-storage netting borrowed from his mother that she normally uses to dry fish.

“It’s usually used to protect from flies.”

His post gathered more than 5,000 likes.

Thai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban | News by The Thaiger

Another man smiled as he held a wheelbarrow filled with goods. Two women hefted a pink laundry basket overflowing with their purchases. Other used old rice bags or just recycled the hundreds of bags they’d accumulated over the years. Others brought their suitcases that sit unused between holidays into service for the daily shopping trip.

Thailand has long been one of the biggest contributors plastic pollution in the ocean, but awareness has spread in the last year as photos of dead wildlife, including turtles, dugongs and even whales with plastic bags in their stomachs went viral.

SOURCE: The ASEAN Post

Thai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban | News by The ThaigerThai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban | News by The ThaigerThai shoppers get resourceful to deal with the plastic bag ban | News by The Thaiger

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