Re: “Plastic ban makes a difference in Krabi marine park”, Around Thailand, August 27.
Tourists are rightly being praised for using traditional “pinto thao” containers instead of plastic foam for their picnic meals at Krabi’s Than Bok Khorani Marine National Park. Plastic bags and foam containers have now been banned from all 154 national parks.
Than Bok Khorani alone sees about 1,000 tourists per day, meaning a possible reduction in daily waste of 3,000-4,000 foam containers.
This success story is the fruit of cooperation and determination from all sides.
As well as enforcing the ban on plastic and foam, park officials are also handing out cloth bags to visitors. Meanwhile local businesses and tour companies are supplying the pinto thao. Some tourists even bring their own, and the collective sense of pride is no doubt being boosted by visibly cleaner seas and beaches.
However, the story is very different in Thai cities, where bad habits are proving hard to break. A tide of plastic foam boxes hits our streets each day, with the biodegradable alternatives still barely visible.
Using pinto thao to carry food from home or a restaurant might not always be convenient. But there is no excuse not to switch from foam containers – which take hundreds of years to decompose – to biodegradable boxes that turn into compost or soil within a few months.
All sides should join together in the effort: if consumers began asking for biodegradable boxes and regulators encouraging their use, then producers would quickly crank up production lines. Biodegradable boxes are not expensive and are as easy and hygienic to use as foam. Why live in a sea of foam and plastic when there is a simple and ecologically sensitive alternative available right now?