The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is considering bringing forward, by 1-2 years, the imposition of a complete ban on the use of single-use plastic bags, Styrofoam boxes, plastic straws and single-use plastic cups.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa on Wednesday agreed to consider a proposal, from a network of environment protection groups, that the cabinet’s decision in April to phase out the four types of plastic products by the year 2022 was too slow and should be moved forward.

Mr. Parkpoom Witharntirawat, a leader of the network, said yesterday that plastic waste is now having a widespread impact on the environment and the situation will get worse if Thailand waits until 2022 to implement the ban.

He pointed out that existing voluntary measures to promote the reduction in use of plastic bags were too lenient, adding “We should move faster toward a plastic free society. Every modern store, shopping mall or other activity must stop using so much plastic,” he said.

Mr. Varawut said yesterday that the government has been cooperating with the private sector to try to reduce the amount of trash, including plastic waste, being washed into seas around Thailand by installing netting in the estuaries of several rivers to trap the trash.

While admitting that this does nothing to address to route of the problem, he said that it is a short-term measure which can help mitigate the problem of plastic waste getting into the oceans.

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