BANGKOK — An environmental group on Tuesday named Coca-Cola and Nestlé among the global companies responsible for much of the plastic pollution in Thailand’s top tourist destinations.
Greenpeace said its volunteers collected 6,091 pieces of plastic waste at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai and Laem Son On in Songkhla, and found 18 percent of them to be from five multinational producers. They urged these corporations to take more environmental responsibility and reduce their production of single-use plastics.
“This report provides more evidence of how corporations have greatly contributed to the plastic crisis we find ourselves in,” project leader Pichmol Rugrod said. “Recycling alone is not going to solve this problem. Corporations should find alternative solutions on how to distribute their products to consumers.”
Apart from Coca-Cola and Nestlé, the other global three brands were Ajinomoto, Mondelēz, and Unilever.
The report also found Thai companies led by CP, Osotspa, TCP Group, Sermsuk, and Singha Corporation to be the top domestic contributors to plastic pollution. These producers alone were responsible for 1,236 pieces of plastic waste in the two surveyed sites.
“Most of the waste we found are food packaging because they are the most consumed,” Pichmol said. “This is followed by tobacco products, household goods, and personal care products.”
A volunteer said some of the more interesting waste items she found are sofas, mattresses, and video game joysticks.
“I think I can furnish a living room here with all the waste I found in the jungle on Doi Suthep,” Torfun Kantamoon said. “I even found a chips packet which dated back to 2008. This means that some of the waste has been there for 10 years already.”
Additional manufacturers of plastic rubbish found on Doi Suthep include condom brand Okamoto, incense brand Noppamas, and even auto parts from Toyota.
The report was made based on information gathered from plastic brand audit campaign, where volunteers in Chiang Mai and Songkhla collected plastic waste at two sites and recorded their producers. The campaign is part of the global #BreakFreefromPlastic movement, which has been carried out in 51 countries.
Still, Pichmol said neither the consumer, business, or government is to be blamed entirely for the problem. She said everyone is responsible for the waste, but the purpose of pointing fingers at producers is to induce them to take more concrete action.
“Producers might say that it is consumers’ behavior that resulted in these products being discarded,” she said. “Manufacturers need to be accountable for what their products are doing to the environment.”