Thailand begins the year with a ban on all retail single-use plastic bags – and citizens are having fun with it.
Hoping to eliminate all plastic garbage by 2030, the Thais embraced the new plastic bag ban that went partially into effect Jan. 1 by finding new ways to haul their goods using items like wheelbarrows, suitcases, laundry baskets and vases.
After the government banned all single-use plastic bags alongside the “Every Day Say No to Plastic Bags” campaign in cooperation with all 75 members of the Thai Retailers Association, who compiled and encouraged the change, many Thai citizens let their imaginations run wild in response. Many items not traditionally found at supermarkets are now being used instead of plastic bags, like clips on hangers and a fish-drying rack. The trend has taken a life of its own, more so for social media – Thai shoppers took to Instagram and other social platforms to share their creativity.
“I think some people are close-minded and slightly arrogant to the idea of implementing a ban in Florida,” sophomore Christina Beaver said. “They wouldn’t want to implement it – especially those who are older and used to the ways they have grown up. I still feel that in the end there will always be people who are in support of it and people would eventually see the bigger goal.”
Even though this issue was discussed worldwide, the ban may not have fully taken effect if not for the discovery of a dead deer in a national park in Thailand early November of last year. Sparking outrage across the internet, commenters remarked that park goers should “have some responsibility”, according to the BBC. The deer was found with 15 pounds of plastic trash in its stomach, including men’s underwear, instant coffee sachets and parts of plastic rope.
“I think we should get a similar plastic bag ban,” sophomore Naomi Greenwood said. “Implementing something that is healthier not only for us and for the environment is not going to be a big downside because using anything plastic…can leach into your food. That’s just not healthy.”
Apart from the nation-wide ban and the “Every Day Say No to Plastic Bags” campaign, the Pollution Control Department has provided a 20-year plan on plastic waste management, including measures to reduce the use of seven plastic items: cap seals, oxo-degradable plastic, microbeads, single-use plastic bags, styrofoam food containers, plastic cups and straws.
“I think Florida should implement a plastic bag ban similar to Thailand, especially considering the fact that we are on the coast – we have easy access to the ocean,” sophomore Caitlyn Cox said. “I’m assuming we’re one of the leading states causing ocean pollution. We’ve all been to the beach and seen the trash there.”