This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
How to Say NO to Straws in Thai…
Rubbish in Thailand has reached massive levels, which is why the Trash Hero Kids (Ao Nang) have taken to YouTube. The post How to say NO in Thai to plastic bags shared their first video, this is their second.
The Gulf of Thailand as communal trash bin: On a per-capita basis, Thais are among the world’s top users of disposable plastic bags. Thanks to our carelessness, our country has become a major contributor to the garbage that fouls the oceans – one of five nations collectively responsible for 60 per cent of the plastic found at sea, according to a 2015 report by US-based advocacy group Ocean Conservancy. (Sharing in our guilt are China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam).
I don’t know why Myanmar isn’t on that list. On a recent trip I could see huge piles of rubbish thrown into dry riverbeds, just waiting for the rainy season to wash everything out to sea. It was awful. I drove by field after field totally cluttered with plastic waste.
It is not too much to expect Thais to gradually become just as intolerant to wastage. We need an integrated approach to tackle the issue. Let’s get serious about recycling and reuse. Let’s kick the plastic habit. Let’s teach our children not to litter, and instead to think about alternative uses for “waste that isn’t waste”. Let’s see more trash bins in public places and effective garbage collection too. And, instead of bickering over coal-derived power, let’s set up emission-controlled incinerators that turn all that refuse into useable energy.
A regional approach to tackle the issue is desperately needed – will Thailand lead the way?
For even more information, go to PlasticOceans.org and BiologicalDiversity.org.