In Thailand over 500,000,000 plastic bags are used and discarded every day. At every convenience store, mall or street food stall there are plastic bags given with every purchase. This may not always be the case, but consider that our convenience contributes to Thailand’s annual flood problems.
Bangkok Insurance brokers
Remember the 2011 floods? They affected an estimated 8.2 million Thai people, while causing economic losses of about 2 billion dollars to the country. There are a multitude of factors that have contributed to this flood, however one of the big culprits for causing a flood of this magnitude are, you guessed it, plastic bags.
But how could such convenient items cause such harm? It is a fact that only 31% of Thailand’s waste is disposed of properly. The rest are left in the streets, roads, and in the sewer systems. When plastic bags are continually wasted at the rate they are currently, sewer and drainage systems are left clogged with what many people deem as a “convenient item”. When these systems are blocked, water cannot effectively be drained back to the reservoirs and oceans from which they came, causing the immense flooding issues Thailand is used to. Not only that, but Thailand is sinking. It is estimated that by 2030, Bangkok may be submerged. This is alarming news, and once again, part of the problem is plastic bags.
Aside from this, plastics are toxic. Some plastics are considered to be carcinogens in fact, when exposed to high amounts of heat. However, these effects may only come into play when these plastics are digested or exposed in liquid form to humans.
It’s said that 69% of plastic that isn’t disposed of properly ends up in the oceans and seas that surround us. In 2012, it was estimated that around 4.8 – 12.7 millions tons of plastic have been left in the ocean alone. When plastic is discarded in the sea, the harsh winds and currents work to reduce it to extremely small parts, breaking it apart slowly. The result are “micro plastics” – plastic waste that is too small to discern or see. This makes it extremely difficult to track and get rid of these plastics, so they usually end up in the stomachs of aquatic life without them or anyone even knowing until it’s too late, the toxicity of the plastic has done its job. These aquatic animals are then left dead, washed up on shore.
But of course, not all marine life would die instantly. This means that usually the plastic stays in these creatures stomachs, until they are, possibly, fished. With the micro plastic still in their systems, they are then consumed by us, where we inherit those small bits of plastic. So yes, that dangerous carcinogenic plastic can end up in our bodies when we enjoy that fresh sashimi.
Along with all of this, Thailand’s disposal cost for the 31% of plastic garbage amounts to 600 million baht everyday. So this issue is not a matter of putting your garbage in the right place, as this cost would only increase. Money, presumably acquired through taxes.
So what is the solution? Simple. Reduce plastic bag usage, from that average of eight plastic bags per day to zero. It sounds easier than it may be.
But there are ways that as a community we can reduce that number. Bring your own reusable cloth bag to the supermarket or mall when shopping. This will cuts the number of cuts plastic bags given with purchases. Learn to refuse a plastic bag. You can hold it in your hand or out it in your pocket. You do not need a plastic bag. Similarly, double bagging is also unnecessary.
Sign the petition for #EightToZero on Go Petition in order to pressure those businesses to get their employees to ask customers one simple question at the checkout: “Do you need a plastic bag?”. This petition is part of the campaign that Expat Life is leading. By asking this question, it will change consumer habits, “Do I need a plastic bag?”. More often than not, the answer will be no. This question will be able to help sufficiently lower the number of plastic bags used each day.
If this simple questions can help make the difference of just one less plastic bag a day, then it would be worth it. we have to make Thailand a safer place in the future. Your name can help create the change needed to achieve that.