What good will it does if we say no to plastic?

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Is it true that plastic problem will be solved if we just simply ban plastics? How many products are actually plastic free? According to Pollution Control Department and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, 45,000 million plastic bags are consumed by Thai people in a year which is averagely 8 bags per day. The main sources of plastic bag are public and private section accounted for 40%, 30% from grocery, and 30% from department store and convenient stores (Bangkok Post, 2019). As a result, Thailand was ranked 6th in discharging plastic to marine ecosystem. The most valid problem which has raised concern for Thai people regarding plastic problem was the dead of a dugong named Marium who has ingested plastic waste. Starting from the 1st of January 2020, Thailand has launched a campaign “Everyday say no to plastic bags” to follow the national master plan of the municipal waste management between 2016 and 2021. The goal of the country is to minimize the use of single use plastic such as plastic bag, straw, cup, and Styrofoam by 2021. 

On a positive side, saying no to plastic means saving up tons of plastic waste discharged into the ocean, reducing the risk of marine animals ending up dead because of the plastic waste ingestion, and encouraging the use of environmental friendly material. On the other hand, saying no to plastic would affect the convenient in people lifestyle as plastic has been a part of our life, the protection to our hygiene, the carrier of hot soup, and the savior at the department store particularly when we forgot to bring our own bags. All in all, plastic has served many purposes and also caused endless issues. Saying no to plastic is not sufficient to solve all the problem as it can only minimize the problem. Saying yes to plastic doesn’t make us a bad guy as everyone has different lifestyle and different needs. Currently, plastic has been turned to fuel when it was not contaminated and adequately separated. Therefore, the essential step to recover the plastic value and reduce the environmental problem caused by plastic was the segregation process. As long as we can separate plastic and minimize the contamination, we can live comfortably with plastic and the environment.     

Environment is everyone responsibility as we share the air, water, and soil. If one country is affected by the environmental problem, another countries are likely to be affected as well. For example, the problem of the availability of microplastic in the water resources. Microplastic has entered food chain and we endup up consuming that portion of plastic. Therefore, be the voice, be the change because everything starts with you.   

Reference: Bangkok Post. (December 4, 2019). Retailers set Jan 1 Plastic ban. Received on January 13, 2021 from https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1808239/retailers-set-jan-1-plastic-ban.

Wipatsaya Srimanoi

Asian Institute of Technology

Research associate from Asian Institute of Technology, Young Southeast Asian Leader Initiative in Environmental issues and Natural Resources Management

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