The amount of waste is increasing in Phuket, among its single-use plastics waste. If the rise continues, the capacities of the island’s waste management systems will soon exceed their limits.
The “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter” project funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is now supporting a pilot project to reduce plastics and enhance the waste management mechanism on Thailand’s largest island. The pilot activity, implemented by the Phuket Environmental Foundation, was launched at the beginning of November.
It will work on reducing the amount of waste at source in four sectors: tourism businesses, food delivery and restaurants, as well as households and in coastal communities. First steps include increasing the cooperation between food delivery companies and related businesses to identify options for less plastic packaging waste, e.g. through more sustainable alternatives.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the absence of international tourists and a low number of domestic tourists to Phuket, it is a good opportunity to start improving plastic waste management. The sources of waste such as businesses, households, coastal communities, fishing or tourist boats can improve their waste prevention and management before Phuket opens up to international tourism again”,Mr. Viroj Phutong, Chairman of the Phuket Environmental Foundation, says.
With its focus, the pilot activity is in line with the current initiatives at the national level to reduce single-use plastics in food delivery after a significant rise due to COVID-19. Several exchanges between the government and the private sector took place and concluded in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on reducing single-use plastics in food delivery with 13 signatories organised by the Pollution Control Department (PCD) on 30 September. Jointly with the PCD, GIZ will work on this topic to proceed to the next step.
The pilot activity in Phuket is one of five pilot projects which will be supported by the “Rethinking Plastics” project in Thailand. Further pilots related to plastic waste management are in preparation in Rayong and Trang provinces. To avoid waste from ships and fishing vessels landing in the ocean, the project will in addition work with Bangkok port and in Samut Prakan, Chonburi, Pattani, Songkhla and Phuket.