Environment ministry eyes cutback of 3,600 million plastic bags in one year
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set a target to cut down the use of single-use plastic bags by 3,600 million from 45,000 million within 2019 fiscal year and to resort to tax measure to stop the use of Styrofoam food containers, said Natural Resources and Environment permanent secretary Vicharn Simachaya on Tuesday.
On the occasion of the Thai Environment Day today, the ministry in coordination with shopping malls, convenience chain stores and modern trade stores, launched a campaign against using single-use plastic bags for a day after which each will work out their measures to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.
The Thai Environment Day was celebrated at Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition hall and attended by representatives of 55 state agencies and private entrepreneurs that have joined the campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also attended the event and handed over khaoma cloth bags donated from the public to him during his upcountry inspection trips to Gen Surasak Kanchanarat, the minister of natural resources and environment.
The cloth bags will be collected together with hose donated by others to be sent to hospitals for use in containing medicines.
Vicharn said he expected about 20 million single-use plastic bags would be reduced in just one day today.
Vicharn said the next step will be to seek cooperation of vendors in fresh markets to reduce the use of plastic bags, noting that shoppers normally receive several single-use plastic bags from different vendors in just one shopping.
The question is how to put all the things bought at the fresh market in just a few or one plastic bag which will help cut down the use of the plastic bags, said the permanent secretary, adding that, for this method to work, it needs the cooperation of both the shoppers and the vendors and that a culture to reject the use of plastic bags or to reduce the use of the bags must be established.
Vicharn said the National Environment Committee had set up a subcommittee to discuss with the private sector about plan to stop the use of single-use items such as plastic straws and plastic plates which are no longer being used in several countries.
He hinted that if voluntary reduction in the use of plastic bags or other single-use plastic utensils or Styrofoam food containers does not work, tax measures may have to be imposed to produce result.