The answer to the question of waste in Thailand
On June 4th, 2019, The Council of Ministers of Thailand (The cabinet of Thailand) has approved tax reduction measures for partnership or company who purchase biodegradable plastic packaging. After receiving a certificate from the Ministry of Industry, partnership or company will be able to deduct 25% of tax from their purchase or 1.25 times of the required tax payment. This measure has been introduced on January 1st, 2019, until December 31st, 2021.
This is the latest movement from the Thai government to solve the plastic waste problem. Previously, on July 17th, 2018 the Cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to carry out the project called "Do good wholeheartedly to reduce environmental hazards" the aim is to reduce waste, the use of plastic bags, and refrain from using foam food containers.
The implementation of such policies, for example, begins with government agencies nationwide having started to adopt waste reduction and waste separation measure since August 1st, 2018. The result of this campaign will be reported to the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission and will be taken into account as a performance indicator for each government agencies starting from the 2019 fiscal year.
In addition, all 154 national parks are required to reduce the use of single-use plastic glasses, disposable plastic bags, foam food containers and water bottles with plastic cap seal in the national park areas. While the Zoo Organization of Thailand will do the same, including garbage separation in eight zoos starting from October 1st 2018. In the meantime, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has also stated to control marine litter in 24 coastal provinces.
Regarding private sector which also has a significant role in reducing waste, public agencies have encouraged department stores, convenience stores and fresh markets nationwide to reduce the use of plastic bags and foam food containers. At the same time, the private sector can also help to spread information about waste to the general public in order to shape their new understanding and habit and as a result, people will gradually abandon single-use plastic. all of this has started since July 21st, 2018.
In order elevate this policy into a national agenda, on April 17th, 2019, the Cabinet has approved a roadmap for plastic waste management between 2018 - 2030, which aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste approximately by 0.78 million tons per year and this will cut waste management budget around 3.9 billion baht per year.
The implementation of this roadmap is carried out by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment together with the Ministry of Interior. By encouraging every sector to reduce the use of plastic materials and clearly put the timetable in which each type of plastic will be scrapped. By the year 2019, they will stop using 3 types of plastic, which are plastic cap seal for water bottles, oxo-degradable plastics and plastic microbeads.
In addition, within the year 2022, the following types of plastics will be scrapped too, that is plastic bags with handle with less than 36 microns thickness, foam food containers, disposable plastic glass and plastic straws. With the exception of children, the elderly and patients who are in need of these utensils.
Eventually, by the year 2027, Thailand will promote a full-fledged recycle process of plastic waste with a 100% recycling rate.
If the public sector, the private sector, and the people mutually implement the announced policy and become more environmental-friendly, Thailand will be able to reduce a huge amount of plastic waste. Currently, Thailand produces 27.8 million tons of waste in total in the year 2018 or 1.64% increase compared to 27.37 million tons in 2017 (Source: Pollution Control Department). At the same time, Thailand is ranked 6th of the country which dumped plastic waste into the sea the most.
Therefore, waste management is an important national agenda that all parties must join their hands together. From creating a habit of separating waste in one's household to waste management by local governments as well as the implementation of a complete recycle process as a national policy.