Pattaya left hanging by plastic bag ban

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Despite several earlier public-relations campaigns leading up to Jan. 1, many Pattaya residents were still unprepared when major Thai retailers stopped offering single-use plastic bags.
Despite several earlier public-relations campaigns leading up to Jan. 1, many Pattaya residents were still unprepared when major Thai retailers stopped offering single-use plastic bags.

Pattaya residents were still unprepared when major Thai retailers stopped offering single-use plastic bags Jan. 1 despite several earlier public-relations campaigns.

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An informal survey by the Pattaya Mail found most people ignorant of the agreement announced Sept. 6 between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the country’s largest retail chains.

An employee at a Pattaya convenience store said Jan. 3 customers were pushing back against the bag ban, arguing they had nothing to carry their groceries in. But she said the store would continue to follow the agreement.

Of course, not everyone was left flat-footed, with social media flooded with humorous alternatives to plastic bags, including buckets and wheelbarrows.

Despite the pledge, some stores still continue to use plastic bags, although some are charging several baht for them now.

Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said in September that the ministry asked Thai retailers to give up single-use plastic Jan. 1. Among those agreeing are the Central Group, The Mall Group, 7-Eleven operator CP All, Siam Makro, Robinsons, Bangchak Retail, Big C Supercenter, Index Living Mall and gas station operator PTT, as well as trade associations like the Plastic Industry Club and Thai Retailers Association.

The government earlier said it would ban foam food packages plus other single-use plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, straws and cups, in 2022.