In November 2020, Surat Thani municipality, WON Project, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Thailand signed a partnership agreement on a plastic recycling programme in Surat Thani province, Thailand, with the aim of intensifying their actions on the collection of single-use plastic bag and recycling.
After signing the partnership, Dr. Arnold Sitompul, Conservation Director at WWF- Thailand has handed over a plastic compressing machine to the Surat Thani municipality, hoping to reduce plastic leakage into the environment by at least 30 percent in 2025.
“WWF is delighted to see the development of the Plastic Smart Cities Project that aims to tackle the plastic waste in a concrete and more sustainable way. After working with the Surat Thani municipality and WON Project, WWF supports the needs of having a plastic compressing machine and recycling the plastic waste to pave the way for a sustainable plastic management,” said Dr. Arnold.
While Mr. Theerakit Wangmuthitakul, Surat Thani Mayor, has hoped the practice can set an example for other coastal cities. “A plastic compressing machine will be put to good use to promote the recycling of stretchable plastics together with the local activity called ‘Plastic Bank’ with the hope that this initiative can lead to success in reducing plastic waste in other areas.”
WON Project, directed by Kamol Borisudthanakul, was established by Thai Plastic Bags Industries (TPBI) Plc, the country's largest plastic bag and film maker. The project aims to solve the plastic waste problem with creativity and the knowledge of circular economy. “Stretchable plastics remain a huge environmental problem today because only a few people know they can be recycled. Due to its abundant types and low price, there are not many buyers and discarded plastics usually end up in a landfill while some of them leak into the ocean. Thus, knowledge and awareness about plastic waste management is a key to circular economy. It does not only decrease marine debris but also reduce demands for natural resources,” said Mr. Kamol.
In 2018 alone, according to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand’s 23 coastal provinces generated an estimated 11.47 million tons of waste, but only 2.93 million tons of that amount were recycled and up to 217,000 tons or 12% were plastic waste. Approximately 21,700 – 32,600 tons of the uncollected and improperly disposed plastic waste in Thailand get washed into the ocean each year.
Cooperation across the value chain; from local authorities, private sector to community members and NGOs in recycling plastic waste, a more effective plastic waste management system and waste recycling behavior play a vital role in lessening the negative impacts on marine animals, marine ecosystem and public health.
This post was originally published by WWF Thailand.