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Bangkok locked in ‘constant battle’ with plastics

Thailand – When it comes to some materials, it seems we can’€™t live either with or without them. That’s certainly the case with plastics – especially in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, The Straits Times has reported. City workers are fighting ‘a constant battle’, it states, to remove up to 2000 tons of plastic waste from the sewers each day in a place where only 16% of plastic scrap is recycled annually.

According to government figures, Bangkok generates around 11 500 tonnes of waste daily, of which at least one tonne is plastic – a figure that is said to be increasing by 10% every year. Meanwhile, the average Thai uses no less than eight plastic bags a day, which is far higher than, for example, the 80 plastic bags used annually by consumers in France.

Local officials are concerned that resource efficiency and recyclability are not a priority for most of the city’s inhabitants. To help boost recycling rates and cut pollution, Bangkok’s clean-up crew is now taking on prisoner volunteers to collect plastics from drainage pipes and rivers in return for a reduced sentence.

Recycling in Thailand is handled mainly by the informal sector and the national recycling rate is around 30%.

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