Pollution sucks. And while you might not think that buying a plastic bag contributes to it that much, it gets out of hand if all 7.5 billion of us do the same.
Thailand kicked off 2020 with a bang. Only it wasn't fireworks that caused it. The country started actively fighting its environmental problems, banning single-use plastic bags at some of the major stores. According to Reuters, it's a continuation of a campaign by the local government and retailers that brings Thailand closer towards a complete ban in 2021 in an attempt to reduce waste and debris in the surrounding areas. And it's brilliant.
What's really cool about it is the way shoppers are adapting to it. They're not whining on social media or anything. On the contrary, they're embracing the changes. Photos of Thais carrying their groceries in T-shirts, suitcases, buckets, and even ceramic pots have been going viral, and they perfectly capture how creative people get when it comes to something they're really passionate about.
In part, public support for the campaign has been rising due to the increased risk to animals and the environment from such waste. For example, there were several incidents where animals including a deer and a baby dugong were found dead with plastic in their digestive systems last year."
Thailand was ranked sixth among the world’s top countries that dump waste into the sea,” Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-Archa told the media on Wednesday. “During the past five months, we were down to 10th ... thanks to the cooperation of the Thai people."
The ministry stated that the country reduced the use of plastic bags by 2 billion (about 5,765 tonnes) during the first phase of the campaign last year. Reportedly, it really encouraged consumers to refuse plastic bags voluntarily.
Varawut said the biggest challenge is to get rid of the remaining 40% of plastic bags used at fresh markets and in rural areas, "It’s not going to be easy to change the way of thinking and behavior of those people."