Styrofoam And Single Use Plastics Banned in Thai National Parks
From yesterday (06th April 2022) the Thai National Parks office has banned the use of single us plastics and styrofoam products in all National Parks. This includes marine parks so this may affect you on our Phi Phi day trip and Similan Island liveaboards. Although most of the plastics we find on the dive sites are not jettisoned from boats, it’s still a welcome move.
How Will This Affect Diving?
As a dive community, Phuket has long practised good environmental policies. Septic tanks on the boats, no food waste in the ocean, no touching marine life and absolutely nothing to be thrown overboard. On every boat in Phuket you will be briefed on these policies either by the tour leader or your dive guide. Instructors and guides pick up plastic waste during dives and very often guests and students follow the example set.
Whichever dive agency you train with, environmental issues are covered so it’s extremely rare that divers are not aware of what’s detrimental to our ocean environment. Very little if any of the plastic waste comes from the dive industry so no real change for us.
Hopefully the non-diving day trips will be be educated of their responsibilities. Operators should make the rules clear to their guests, if not then they should pay the fine.
What Happens If You Break The Rules And How Will They Be Enforced?
The cynical among us will see plastics banned in Thai National Parks as another opportunity to gouge tourists. On this occasion we really think it’s aimed mostly at domestic tourists. Trash is a real problem anywhere in Thailand but it’s something you definitely don’t want to see in parks.
You could be fined up to THB 100,000 if caught using single use plastics. Enforcement will be sporadic at best but there’s no excuse to be carrying single use plastics. Pretty much reusable anything is readily available nowadays so you won’t get any sympathy from us.
A lot of the plastic waste we see comes from the local markets. Everything from curry to soft drinks is served in plastic bags and then put in another plastic for you to carry. Finding a way for these small operators to use sustainable materials while still being able to make a living is a conundrum. Education is the only solution.
It’s a problem that affects us, some of food we prepare for our guests is ordered from small local businesses. We do ensure all plastic packaging or bags is brought back to shore and either reused or disposed of properly.
What Can You Do?
For many of us the single use plastic mantra has been drummed into our brains for decades. Reusable shopping bags and water flasks are part of everyday life but it’s not the same for everyone. Set an example, bring your own environmentally friendly products and others will follow.
Sunscreens that damage coral reefs have also been banned for awhile now so at least the Thai government are aware of the issues…finally.
We sell Reef Repair environmentally friendly sunscreen onboard
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