Tourism Authority rallies business to fight plastic pollution

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is appealing to some of Thailand’s biggest businesses to join its fight against plastic pollution, which poses a serious threat to the marine environment of the Kingdom and the planet, by introducing a plan to reduce single-use plastic items by 50 percent in three years.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched the “National Cleaning Declaration” campaign last week and said it will court major businesses such as PTT Global Chemical and Airports of Thailand to sign on and support the goal of reducing single-use plastic among all businesses. The campaign is also aimed at changing the consumption behavior and awareness of the Thai people.

TAT Governor Yutthasak Suphason said that his agency wants to see improved waste management across the country, but will focus mainly on businesses in the tourism sector, such as hotels and restaurants. PTT Global Chemical has shown it is a leader and innovator in adopting environmentally friendly solutions in its sector, and so the TAT will seek its knowledge and expertise in tackling the problem.

The Thai public’s awareness and concern about the problem and threat of plastic pollution was significantly raised earlier this month when a pilot whale washed up on a southern beach and died. A forensic examination of the sea mammal found that it had swallowed over 80 plastic bags, making it impossible for it consume any other food as its digestive tract was completely blocked.

The Plastic Institute of Thailand said that the country’s 66 million people use an average of two plastic bags a day. In addition, each person uses an average of 9,750 plastic glasses, 8,000 plastic bottles and 5,000 plastic straws each year.

In addition, Thailand and other countries in the region have been accepting shipments of all sorts of waste from more developed countries, supposedly for processing and recycling, but questions have been raised whether the businesses importing these wastes are disposing of them in environmentally acceptable methods.

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon ordered government officials to develop ways to immediately stop the import of hazardous and electronic waste.