One of the biggest complaints many of us have are with convenience stores like 7-Eleven that give you plastic bags, straws and spoons for literally everything. Even if you don’t want it. No, I don’t need a plastic straw for my bottle of beer. I am not a kid. No, I don’t need a plastic bag for my bottle of water. I am going to drink it straight away. No, I don’t need a separate plastic bag for everything. You can just put it in one plastic bag, which incidentally I will re-use in my home later. Actually, to be fair to the clerks at my local convenience store, they are getting the message as they no longer automatically put my goods in a plastic bag. But, now it is time for us to put pressure on the owners of these convenience stores, supermarkets and department stores to cut down on the amount of plastic that they use every day. And we can all play a part in this by signing a petition right now over on change.org.
Times are certainly changing in Thailand when it comes to awareness of plastic pollution. Earlier this month, a dead whale washed up in southern Thailand. An autopsy revealed eight kilos of plastic bags in its stomach. Then came the news that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports will reduce the amount of single-use plastic by the tourism sector. Shortly after that, the national parks department announced a complete ban on plastic and foam. Then today there was a news story that the Tourism Authority of Thailand will join with tourism businesses to reduce single-use plastic materials by 50% in the three years. So, there is definitely a momentum going on here. Now, comes the next step of using all of this public awareness to urge the owners of convenience stores and supermarkets to start charging their customers for plastic bags.
A petition has been set up on change.org for people to sign. This is what they say about it: We will call on major retailers, such as 7-11, Tesco Lotus, Big C, Central Group and The Mall Group, to initiate their policy change, even better to join hands and do it together. “Simply stop giving away free plastic bags mindlessly. If we want a bag, we will ask and pay for it!”. We, as their customers, can express our concern and let them know that many of us want to see this change!
Will it work? Yes, it certainly can as studies have already shown in other countries around the world that now charge for plastic bags. In the UK, plastic bag use has been reduced by 83% in one year after the change, even though the bags were priced at only 5p (about 2 baht). Some major universities in Thailand already charge for plastic bags at their convenience stores. At the Salaya campus at Mahidol university, they saw a 95% decrease in the use of plastic bags after they started charging 2 Baht per bag.
We can all be part of this change by signing the petition on change.org. Please do it now.
The following are some of my tweets this month about plastic pollution. Scroll down to leave your own comment.
When it comes to plastic pollution, Thailand ranks 6th in the world for dumping plastic in the oceans. You can help make a difference. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it. #BeatPlasticPollution #Thailand pic.twitter.com/AKTXDEaJzo
It's good to see signs like this at many places around Thailand. Banning the use of foam lunch boxes is a brilliant step in the right direction #Thailand #BeatPlasticPollution pic.twitter.com/ASQGZSoCbx
It’s World Environment Day. Please pledge to #BeatPlasticPollution by making some of these tips part of your daily life from now on. Remember, if you cannot reuse it, refuse it.
👉 Please share with your friends. Together we can make a difference. pic.twitter.com/mU1Mca600m
It’s easy to blame stores like 7-11 for their love of single use plastics such as straws, spoons and bags. But really, it should start with us. If we all said “no” tomorrow, then they will quickly get the message. If you cannot re-use it, refuse it #BeatPlasticPollution #Thailand pic.twitter.com/cesLebLifT