BANGKOK – The Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) has reported that the COVID-19 pandemic is having positive effects on the natural ecosystem, as it provides time for many tourist destinations to recover. The amount of garbage, including discarded face masks and plastic waste however, has increased exponentially.
TEI President, Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, said air pollution, particularly in Bangkok, has reduced sharply due to fewer vehicles on the road. A number of natural destinations are starting to recover. Leatherback sea turtles, which are the largest sea turtles and are in danger of extinction, are laying eggs on beaches in Phang Nga and Phuket provinces at an all-time high rate. This is also good time for the government to develop tourism plans and maintain the ecosystem by limiting the number of visitors to natural sites.
Dr. Wijarn said some 1.5 million face masks are being used and disposed of in Thailand each day. The amount in Bangkok is about 150 tons per day. Members of the public are advised put them in red bins, which are designated for hazardous waste. Used masks will be incinerated at a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius. People should not burn them on their own because they can cause harmful effects on human health and air pollution.
The amount of plastic waste has also increased by 15 percent, due to the surge in deliveries. In normal times, Thailand produces 1,500 tons per day. Now. the country is producing 6,300 tons of plastic waste per day, and about 1,500 tons are in Bangkok alone.(NNT)