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Thailand bans plastic bags at major stores

Delegates travelling to country for business events will do well to bring reusable and environmentally-friendly bag along

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The Thai government has introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores since Jan 1.

BANGKOK - Delegates travelling to Thailand for business events will do well to bring a reusable and environmentally-friendly bag with you on the trip.

Since Jan 1, the Thai government has introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores, continuing a campaign launched by the government and retailers towards a complete ban in 2021 to reduce waste and debris in the sea.

"Thailand was ranked sixth among the world's top countries that dumps waste into the sea," Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-Archa was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"Thanks to the cooperation of the Thai people, during the past five months, we were down to 10th."

According to the ministry, Thailand had reduced the use of plastic bags by 2 billion, or about 5,765 tonnes last year, in the first phase of campaign to encourage consumers' voluntarily refusal of plastic bags from stores.

Mr Varawut said the most challenging aspect would be the last 40% of plastic bag used at fresh markets and in rural areas.

"It's not going to be easy to change the way of thinking and behaviour of those people," he said.