More than 30 institutions joined up to reduce single-use plastic at a kick-off event for the Pilot Project for Single-Use Plastic Prevention in Phuket on 30 July 2021. The virtual gathering brought together key local actors and national stakeholders to discuss the implementation plan and to learn from international best practices.
In recent years, Phuket’s natural resources have been threatened by an increasing amount of plastic waste, among them Single-Use-Plastic (SUP*). Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in a massive decrease in the number of tourists to the island and a pause in economic activities, public institutions, businesses, SMEs, and concerned associations see the opportunity to seriously consider how to address the plastic pollution via preventive measures both on the supply and demand sides.
The pilot project aims to reduce single-use plastic. It is part of the “Collaborative Action for Single-Use Plastic Prevention in Southeast Asia (CAP-SEA)” which is implemented by GIZ and the Thailand Environment Institution (TEI) with the participation of more than 30 institutions from governments, hotels, markets, retailers, restaurants, cafes, department stores, academia, NGOs and private sector think tanks. A raft of activities is being drawn up and will run until November 2022.
Currently, a SUP baseline study is being conducted by the project’s consultants. Findings will be used to inform partner institutions about the volume of the SUP waste and to set targets for prevention and reduction efforts.
In her presentation, Ms. Onphailin Trakoonpariphon, Deputy Mayor of Phuket City Municipality, said: “I would like to see the Single-Use Plastic-free measures become the main policy of Phuket province. This policy will encourage everyone to cooperate and work together to reduce the use of plastic, such as refraining from using foam food containers and lowering the use of plastic bags. I want to see the use of substitute materials such as cloth bags instead.”
Phuket City was selected as the pilot site after passing a number of selection criteria that included readiness of local and provincial government, the local business community, local civil society and other actors.
As part of a sharing session, German experts from Öko-Institut introduced best practices being implemented to tackle the plastic pollution in European cities, the United Kingdom and Singapore such as a Single-Use Plastic Levy**, Promoting Reusable Packaging, Green Public Procurement, Landfill and Incineration Tax, and the Pay-As-You-Throw Scheme.
To offer alternatives, an online catalogue showcasing start-ups who produce food packaging from local, plastic-free materials is now being developed by Global Shapers Bangkok and was presented at the event. The e-catalogue, still in development phase, is expected to assist individuals, businesses and organisations who are looking to buy SUP-free materials in the purchase of SUP-free products.
After obtaining the findings from the baseline studies, indicators will be set in consultation with the project partners. At the end of the pilot project in November 2022, it is expected that the volume of a single-use plastic waste in Phuket will be reduced, municipal solid waste disposal will cost less and Phuket province will remain as idyllic as it has always been.
The Collaborative Action for Single-Use Plastic Prevention in Southeast Asia (CAP SEA) project is part of the GIZ global project, “Export Initiative for Green Technologies”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). CAP SEA supports reducing plastic waste and promoting reusable packaging systems in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Thailand, CAP SEA contributes to the Thai Government’s priority of the Bio, Circular and Green (BCG) economy model and is in line with Thailand’s plastic waste management action plan. Together with Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), which serves as the secretariat in Thailand, the project supports national and local authorities, the private sector and civil society while facilitating dialogue and cooperation between different sectors to achieve the aims. The project runs from August 2019 – March 2023. For more information on CAP SEA project activities, please download the factsheet here.
*Single-Use Plastic products e.g., thin plastic bags, non-recyclable plastic bottles and containers, plastic tableware and more. **Single-Use Plastic Levy place taxes on plastic bags, bottles and food packaging to deter their use.