Thailand’s rank improves on ocean plastic pollution


Thailand’s efforts to turn the tide on ocean plastic pollution have earned it an improved global ranking on the issue and remains committed to eliminating plastic waste.

Chatuporn Burutpat, Permanent-Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said last Friday that recently released statistics show that the country moves down the world’s rank for ‘mass of mismanaged plastic waste.’

Six of the top ten countries on the list are in Southeast Asia, while China and the U.S. are also in the top 20, and China leads all other nations.

Thailand became increasingly aware of the scale of the problem, in particular after two years ago when a pilot whale washed up and died on a Thai beach after ingesting too much plastic waste while swimming along the oceans.

Since then, the government, the private sector, and the Thai public have all been taking action to address the problem. As the Chair country of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2019, Thailand coordinated support for and passage of a regional agreement to reduce marine debris.

The government has announced a nationwide ban on seven single-use plastic items, including plastic bags, starting in 2021, but has already been encouraging businesses and the public to stop or reduce using them now.

Leading Thai companies, such as SCG building materials, are cutting their use and manufacture of single-use plastic products by 50 percent and adopting sustainable business methods and principles of the circular economy.

Department stores, retailers, and others are also cutting back on handing out plastic bags and items.

And a 12-year-old half-Thai, half-American student in Bangkok, Ralyn Satidtanasarn, has become the Kingdom’s version of Greta Thunberg, rallying public support against plastic waste.

Photo courtesy of https://www.chula.ac.th/en/clipping/21057/

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