Thailand will ban three plastics this year

Thailand will take the first step towards eliminating single-use plastics by banning three types of plastics by the end of this year as the Kingdom aggressively attempts to turn back the tide on environmental damage and create a greener economy.

The three plastics that will be barred from use by the end of 2019 are microbeads, cap seals, and oxo-degradable plastics, which are plastics that fragment over time and eventually become microplastics. The world’s oceans and even the sands on beaches are completely contaminated with microplastics, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

By 2022, the government will also ban four other single-use plastics: lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick; styrofoam food containers; plastic cups, and plastic straws – except for those who still need to use them such as the elderly, patients and children.

Assistant Government Spokesman Athisit Chainuwat added that the goal is for Thailand only to be using recycled plastics by 2027, and that plastic waste will be a source of fuel. All these goals are contained in the Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030.

Thailand’s tough stance on plastics, especially single-use plastics, is a recent phenomenon resulting from revelations that plastic waste in the Kingdom accounts for about 16 percent of all garbage polluting the seas.

On April 11, General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand joined other high-level speakers in a World Bank’s forum “From Source to Sea : Innovative solutions to tackle marine pollution”. The Thai Minister highlighted Thailand’s proactive plans and concrete measures to tackle plastic wastes and marine debris, and as current ASEAN Chair, hosted the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris on March 5, 2019 in Bangkok.

That meeting welcomed the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris and agreed to submit Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN region to Leaders for adoption at the 34th ASEAN Summit in June 2019 in Bangkok. The Minister also met Laura Tuck, Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank, on April 12, 2019 and discussed possible areas of partnership to tackle marine pollution.

Aside from government actions, leading private-sector companies such as building materials conglomerate SCG are reducing their production and use of single-use plastics and adopting the principles of the circular economy – reduce, reuse, and recycle – to take a greener approach to business and development.