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Plastic bag MoU signed in Phuket



PHUKET CITY: An agreement to charge a small fee for plastic bags was signed by most of the island’s major retailers, with Tesco-Lotus and 7-Eleven the only major holdouts.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony took place at Phuket Provincial Hall (Sala Klaang) at 2pm yesterday.

The event was chaired by Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop.

Also attending were new Vice Governor Teerayut Eimtrakul and the three leaders of the project: Phuket Provincial Energy Office Director Jirasuk Tummawetch, Phuket Public Health Office Director Dr Pongsawat Rattanasaeng and Managing Director of Indigo Real Estate Nick Anthony.

Also there to show support were many civil servants and elected officials, including Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tantipong and Phuket Provincial Administration Organization President Paiboon Upatising.

Among those with representatives signing the agreement were Jungceylon, Central, Carrfour, Robinson, Supercheap, Big C, Phuket Grocery, Family Mart, 108 Shop, Index Living Mall, SB Furniture, Homepro, and many more.

Mr Jirasak said Tesco-Lotus and 7-Eleven were both still awaiting final approval from store headquarters in Bangkok.

Also not signing was Makro, which has never given away plastic bags for free.

At the the event, Central Festival Phuket gave two cloth bags to all signatories.

The plastic bag scheme, the first of its kind in Thailand, will be launched on February 14, 2010.

It is hoped that it will lead to a source reduction in solid waste.

Phuket currently produces about 500 tonnes of garbage daily, about twice what the incinerator at Saphan Hin can burn. The remainder continues to pile up in a low-lying landfill around the incinerator.

In 2007, pools of toxic waste from the landfill overflowed into the surrounding waterways, killing millions of farmed fish in the area.

The organizers hope the plastic bag scheme will be the first in a step-by-step process that will drastically cut the amount of trash produced on the island at the source.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan & Stephen Michael Fein


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