What time again you may be wondering? The time for the famous Phuket King’s Cup Regatta or for the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the Kings Birthday? Well you could say both of those are correct, as is time for both of those great events again. However, I’m not talking about either of those, but what I am talking about is also connected to His Majesty the King’s Birthday. It’s the time when Phuket, once again, attempts to make the island plastic bag free.
There is never the question as to whether you want the item in a bag
Why am I saying again? This is because Phuket actually tried this very same project 2 years ago, and it’s quite easy to see that it was, I’m very sad to say it, very unsuccessful. You only have to go to the nearest 7- Eleven or Tesco Lotus and purchase the smallest item available to see how happy the staff is to immediately put the item into one of their branded plastic bags. There is never the question as to whether you want the item in a bag; it’s just easier for them to do what their brain is trained to do.
So why do we need to stop using these bags? Well there are some simple answers to that question, they pool water and breed mosquitoes, they litter our environment and wash into the sea, killing dolphins, turtles and fish and polluting beaches. Another result, due to the carelessness of the people who take them and have no respect for where they dispose of them, is dirty gardens, streets, parking areas, public parks and beaches which results in there being less or no tourists.
There are supposedly 840,000 reuse bags to be distributed around the island
Now you are probably asking how this attempt to make Phuket greener is connected to the King’s Birthday. The answers to that are also simple; firstly, the project is due to start on 5th December, His Majesty’s Birthday. Secondly the project is due to run until 27th February, when we are told there will be no longer be plastic bags on the island. That’s 84 day, and how old is His Majesty this year? 84. There are supposedly 840,000 reuse bags to be distributed around the island, starting on 5th December, do you see the connection?
So how does this campaign differ from the last? There is in fact no difference with this year’s campaign except for that fact that Tesco Lotus has agreed to participate, which it was unwilling to do in the last campaign.
There are now 24 of the islands retailers who have agreed to stop providing free plastic bags, supporting the campaign to put an end to plastic shopping bags and for shoppers to bring re-usable bags with them when they go shopping.
Earlier this year Phuket Provincial Energy Office Chief Jirasak Thammavet said “We will urge 84 stores to stop giving away plastic bags, and we will give away 840,000 cloth bags for people to use.”
“As for the major retailers, we will have to educate people to get into the habit of bringing their own bags for shopping. We see no problem with this; the Makro super centre has never given away or sold plastic bags, so other shops should do the same.”
Who is going to be responsible for over-looking this campaign?
After doing many hours of research on this matter, there are no documents or articles telling us who is going to be responsible for over-looking this campaign. And if only 84 stores are being urged to stop giving away the plastic bags, that suggests there a few hundred more local stores dotted around the island who will be free to carry on as normal.
Perhaps I’m being a little negative, but I find it hard to see this campaign actually working. Yes it’s a great idea and there are many of us who will be more than willing to help it be a success. But will we really need to wait until 27th February 2012 to see if it has is successful?
Please help make Phuket a cleaner island and join in with the campaign, please take re-usable bags to stores when you go shopping and if you buy a small amount of items that you can carry quite easily without the use of a plastic bag, please refuse to take one.