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Curfew to reduce amount of plastic waste in Phuket at night

ENVIRONMENT: An unintended positive consequence of Thailand's curfew will be a significant reduction in the amount of single-use plastic bags being distributed and discarded, at least during the late hours.

Friday 23 May 2014, 09:55AM

Most of Phuket's plastic bags are destined for the landfill and incinerator at Saphan Hin.

Most of Phuket's plastic bags are destined for the landfill and incinerator at Saphan Hin.

The curfew, which requires for all convenient stores to close from 10pm-5am, was announced yesterday evening (original story here).

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thailand produced some 16 million tonnes (16 billion kilograms) of solid waste last year.

Of this, 80,000 tonnes (80 million kilogrammes) were plastic bags.

That equates to just over 219 tonnes (219,000 kgs) per day, or an average of more than 9,000 kgs of plastic bags thrown out per hour, nationwide.

With a 7-hour curfew, this means that as much as 63,000kg of plastic bags can be saved every day during the period of the curfew – but whether the masses can maintain the positive momentum during the rest of the day and evening remains to be seen.

Though most plastic bottles get recycled in the kingdom, nearly all of the plastic bags end up in landfills – legal and illegal – and one of the handful of incinerators, like in Phuket, if not improperly disposed of along roadsides, and in canals, rivers and oceans.

How to make a difference: next time you shop in a convenient store, bring your own cloth bag and politely insist to the employee (who has been trained to give everyone a bag for everything) that a plastic bag is not necesarry.

In Thai, say – "Mai sai toong krup (ka for girls)."  ไม่ใส่ถุงครับ (ค่ะ)




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