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Superstar singer Tata Young backs the Phuket bag campaign

Tata Backs Phuket's Anti-Plastic Push

Monday, February 20, 2012
PHUKET: Phuket will become Thailand's first province to embark on a major plastic bag reduction campaign with an official launch involving Phuket government organisations and the Phuket based SEEK environmental sustainability NGO next Monday.

The campaign will also, for the first time, include all retailers on the island signing up to a co-ordinated Phuket wide initiative to reduce plastic bag use.

Up to 2000 people are expected to attend the ceremony in Phuket City.

SEEK member and Head of IUCN Southeast Asia, Dr Robert Mather, said the plastic bag campaign was one of many environmental sustainability programs now under way to ensure Phuket's environment meets the demands of existing and future development.

''This partnership between the Phuket authorities, SEEK and business is vital to maintaining Phuket's positioning as one of the world???s leading tourist destinations.

''We must act now to ensure Phuket's environment is clean, green and sustainable in 20 years time. The plastic bag campaign is immediate and tangible evidence that with the right support, education, strategies and commitment we are turning this problem around,'' Dr Mather said.

SEEK is asking the retailers to take a number of actions. These include:

...to stop giving away plastic bags except for fruit, meats, fish and bakery products;

...to sell REUSE [re-useable] bags to customers at a cheap price to make it good value and accessible;

...to promote signage at check-out points in multiple languages;

... to advertise the REUSE bags ;

... to support customers to use the REUSE bag;

...to train staff to understand reasons for the initiative;

...to commit to distributing fully bio-degradable bags;

...to introduce a points system for consumer education;

...to encourage suppliers to carry products in large packs, reducing plastic wrappers.

Getting all major retailers on Phuket to sign up for the campaign - Tesco Lotus has agreed to an initial step of having one plastic bag day a week - has taken considerable effort but had received strong support from local authorities.

''We are very appreciative of the support we have received from retailers and local authorities which will enable us to move forward with confidence on the plastic bag, and other environmental issues, facing Phuket,'' Dr Mather said.

Plastic bags are a major environmental problem on Phuket because of an unchecked ''throw away mentality,'' a lack of regard for the environment; little co-ordination among organisations to address the problem and a ''reactive'' waste management policy.

SEEK also plans to reduce the ''visual pollution'' of roadside billboards by working with the property industry in the future. Other initiatives include encouraging retailers to support green products, for example selling energy efficient light bulbs at reduced prices; placing recycling stations on retailers' premises with appropriate multi-language signage; reducing energy use such as turning down the air conditioning, turning off promotional lights at night; and supporting local corporate social responsibility programs such as buying turtle products from the Main Kao turtle foundation and selling Tommy the Turtle book from SEEK that educates about waste management.

On August 23, 24 and 25 SEEK will also hold an eco forum and festival highlighting a wide range of initiatives, forums, workshops, educational/fun activities and SEEK's inaugural environmental awards.

All major Phuket governmental, retail and other businesses, NGOs, schools and environmental groups will be involved.

About SEEK: SEEK stands for Environment, Economy, Education and Knowledge.

SEEK is a voluntary group of Phuket citizens devoted to improving the environment through a number of active programs aimed at reducing all forms of pollution, waste and environmental degradation through sustainable environment initiatives.

Contact: Sean Panton, E: sean@synergysportsls.com. Tel: 083 3915869. Nick Anthony, SEEK. E: nick@indigore.com Tel: 089 8732042

Comments

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I can vaguely (I'm 58 y.o.) remember my childhood when my Dad (a farmer) went to Dumfries market on a Friday & my Mum went shopping. She used to carry a large wicker basket around (bought from gypsies touting their wares around the farms) to get her goods from old fashioned butcher, baker & grocer, etc. Nowadays, with all items in one superstore, with car parking adjacent, there is no excuse not to return to the old fashioned shopping basket. The raw materials are readily available in Thailand & I am sure such would be a popular seller as you would only need to buy it once.

Posted by Logic on February 20, 2012 23:09

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Logic, yes I'm a bit older than you and can also remember my grandparents and my parents shopping with the wicker baskets and the shops put some of the groceries in paper bags.

Posted by Wyn on February 21, 2012 09:52

Editor Comment:

In Thailand one and two generations ago, banana leaves were used as wrappings. Liquids were carried in coconuts with strings attached. All discarded foodstuffs and the materials they came in were biodegradable. Only with consumerist and materialist Western habits has the plastic problem evolved here.

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It was reported last year by most Phuket media that a no plastic bag campaign would run from November 2011 until February this year,what happened to that one?

Posted by phuket madness on February 21, 2012 10:14

Editor Comment:

You really do need to do your own checking, phuket madness. A search of Phuketwan articles would reveal that this is the same project, delayed because of the Bangkok floods.


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