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Thailand Boldly Plans to Start Banning Most Harmful Plastics As Soon As January 2020

Thailand is set to begin phasing out all plastics that degrade into fragments by the end of this year. Not only that, the nation is also banning plastic bags, styrofoam, cups, and straws by 2022

In an effort to do their part to combat global plastic pollution, Thailand has put forward a bold plan for reducing the production of plastic. 43 large firms have come aboard a partnership of 33 state and municipal departments and ministries to produce Thailand’s Roadmap on Plastic Waste Management 2018-30.

Microbeads, cap seals, and oxo-degradable plastics are just three of the proposed reductions, and the bans on these objects are slated for implementation before the year’s end.

By 2021, a major ban on single-use plastic bags will go into effect, with government spokesmen urging the public to prepare for the change.

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“We will be collaborating with 43 private companies in crafting out plastic ban guidelines,” said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, “so I would like to tell all Thais to prepare paper or cloth bags before Thailand imposes its ban on single-use plastic bags in 2021.”

By 2022, the roadmap seeks to have established bans for lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick, polystyrene food containers, plastic cups, and plastic straws.

The bans aim to reduce plastic waste in its most harmful manifestations—namely styrofoam and small plastic objects that degrade into particulates.

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Airborne microplastic particles were found in a study to be flying over a remote mountain top in the Pyrenees to the tune of 400 particles per minute, while polystyrene foam has the longest half-life of any commonly used plastic.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) which is part of the private-public plastic ban partnership, has encouraged the government to invest more in recycling technology, specifically in regards to waste-generated electricity.

“So far, we have relied mostly on landfill as it is the cheapest way to manage waste,” Supont told Bangkok Post. “But waste-to-energy technologies have become better and cheaper as well. Their effectiveness in managing waste is high and can be expanded in many areas.”

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He reminded his readers that while government and industry play a big role in waste management, they as consumers carry a big responsibility of making sure their children grow up in a plastic waste-free Thailand.

“Consumers have to play their part in taking care of the environment,” the FTI chairman said. “For small vendors, plastic bags and containers are still the most cost-efficient choice. Consumers have to say no to them so that these businesses realize they have no choice but to adapt themselves.”

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