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Plastic Pollution

Hector · 43 · 2004

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Offline Anton

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Parks staff say holiday garbage was under control

DESPITE an overwhelming number of tourists in national parks during New Year holidays, the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) has confirmed they properly managed the garbage brought by visitors.

Nearly a million tourists visited national parks across the country during five days of the New Year holidays, causing concerns over possible environmental impacts.

But DNP director-general Thanya Netithammakun insisted that the department successfully dealt with the large number of tourists and was able to contain the effects of tourism on the pristine ecosystem.

The Nation full report 07.01.2018
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Online Roger

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Morning all - I've copied this report from the DT premium page - it is quite long, but for those interested . . .  8) The report deals with my beloved Cornwall but the insights will apply equally to our shoreline in Thailand no doubt   :'(
(Unfortunately the photos don't transfer so easily).

''The masses of plastic dumped on the beaches of Cornwall by Storm Eleanor throws into stark relief the global crisis being caused by human rubbish in the world’s oceans.
As the storm passed, pictures emerged of the picturesque Cornish coast left strewn with waste and its rockpools clogged with plastic. In recent years rising demand for single-use items such as food wrapping and bottled water has helped lead to us producing more plastic in the last decade than in the previous century.

Fleeting conveniences such as disposable coffee cups can outlive their use in minutes, but take up to 450 years to degrade once discarded. The result is the world’s oceans are now choking with billions of tonnes of plastic. Public awareness of the impact of plastic waste has been growing in recent years, helped in particular by the graphic portrayal of its effect on the marine environment in programmes such as the BBC's Blue Planet.

However Storm Eleanor has helped expose just how dire the crisis lapping at the UK's shores has become. The plastic that washed up on the shores of Cornwall during Storm Eleanor came from a number of sources, both domestic and abroad as well as recent and historic.
Dr Geoff Brighty, the Science and Policy Advisor for the Plastic Oceans Foundation, said that firstly the storm had churned up plastic already floating in the sea and deposited it on the shore.

Some of these plastics will have already been in the oceans for years and decades. But he said some of the materials left on the shore had clearly come from the UK and been flushed into the sea from our sewer systems. He said: “Some of the material that is mixed in with the plastic on the beach will include things like cotton bud stems, and they are going to be coming from storm sewer overflows, from the waste-water treatment processes around the coast and potentially some of it from the rivers further upstream.”

Jo Ruxton, a former Head of Conservation at WWF and the producer of A Plastic Ocean, a documentary featuring on Netflix, said the explosion in global plastic production over the last decades lies at the heart of the crisis. In 1950 the world was producing 1.5 million metric tonnes of plastic. That output grew to 50 million tonnes by 1976 and by 2002 that had quadrupled to 200 million tonnes. However in the last decade there has been an exponential growth in plastic production as demand for disposable items such as takeaway coffee cups has rocketed. In 2015 global plastic production had reached 322 million metric tonnes and it is that surge in recent years that is bringing the oceans' plastics crisis to a head.

“We have made more plastic in the last decade than in the whole of the last century,” said Ms Ruxton, who previously worked on the BBC's Blue Planet. “It is not a new thing, but the exponential rate at which we are making plastics is making it impossible to ignore.
“We are producing far too much plastic believing it is disposable. It’s not, it’s indestructible”.

When Martin Dorey took his usual walk down Crooklets Beach in Bude after Storm Eleanor had blown across Britain he was understandably shocked. The Cornish coastline was choked with plastic as far as the eye could see. It means that after the storm every mile of British coastline could have potentially contained enough plastic to fill 35 large refuse bins. “Plastic turns up on every tide, every day,” said Mr Dorey, “But it’s been years since Crooklets was as bad as this. It was quite shocking. The strong onshore winds and high tides made it a perfect storm for beach plastic to wash up. “It’s a universal and continuous problem. We put it in, and the ocean brings it all back to us. “A lot of it is local but I have had shotgun cartridges that have come from Canada and plastic discs from sewage treatment sites wash in from New England. “If we don’t pick it up it goes back into the ocean on the next tide. It harms wildlife and gets eaten by fish, which we then eat. So it will eventually come back to harm us too.”

Rhian Sula, a National Trust visitor experience manager, who spotted the plastic on a beach walk said: “It looked like a river. I have never seen pools of this type, there were thousands, if not millions of them. “I collected as many as I could but there are still thousands there.”

According to Greenpeace an estimated 12 million tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans every year – or a truckload every minute - and it gets there through a number of different routes. The majority of plastic clogging the ocean comes from human rubbish, with 80 per cent of marine plastic waste estimated to have been originally lost or discarded on land before washing out to sea.

The plastic rubbish includes everyday items like drinks bottles and food packaging escaping into the environment as it's transported to landfill sites. Once rubbish has been deposited it can still blow away in the wind and find its way to the ocean. Litter being thrown away on the street and beaches can also enter the ocean, while in other parts of the world inadequate waste disposal is another significant contributor to the problem. Around a fifth of marine litter is created through illegal dumping, discarded fishing gear and other materials lost at sea by accident and industrial leakage.

Plastic nurdles - tiny round pellets used to make plastic products which can be harmful to wildlife - are a ubiquitous source of marine pollution and are now being found on almost three-quarters of UK beaches. They tend to find their way into the oceans via shipping accidents or leakage.

Elena Polisano, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Plastic waste comes from every inhabited land mass, and ends up in every corner of our oceans, from the high Arctic to the bottom of the Marianas trench. “Making trillions of disposable products from an indestructible material was always going to create problems, as the only sensible thing to do with plastic waste is to recycle all of it, and the only way we can realistically hope to recycle all of it is to produce a lot less.”

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is now reporting a 10 per cent rise in pollution on Britain's beaches just in the last year and says plastic pollution is a nationwide concern. “Litter gets washed up on our beaches on every tide, but Storm Eleanor has really highlighted the extent of debris that is entering our oceans and the need to take action now,” Lizzie Prior, a Beach and River Clean officer for the MCS, told The Telegraph. “We are finding shocking amounts of plastic on our beaches and in our seas, which is why we are calling on governments to stop this plastic tide. We urgently need a levy on single-use plastic as a first step.”
The MCS has recently organised a nationwide clean-up campaign, involving 339 beaches, in response to the “enormous” amount of material washing up on the UK's shores. More than 7,000 volunteers took part in last year’s Great British Beach Clean, helping remove 255,209 pieces of litter from the UK shoreline. On average, 718 pieces of rubbish for every 100 metres cleaned was picked up. The growing clamour surrounding the impact on the ocean has  spurred the government to take to action to reduce the amount of plastic waste the UK produces. Among recent measures passed is a ban, introduced Tuesday, on tiny pieces of plastic known as microbeads, which are found in rinse-off cosmetics and have become a prevalent source of marine pollution.

Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Julian Kirby added: “The appalling images of plastic pollution smothering the tideline on Cornish beaches is all the more galling for the fact that this is only a tiny part of what’s in the sea - even when the beach-combing heroes have done their work there’ll still be millions of tonnes out there. “Plastic is demonstrably toxic to life, so plastic pollution must be tackled at source, with those who make and market it taking responsibility for rapidly reducing how much is produced and consumed. Alongside government and volunteer action, a key part of addressing the crisis will unavoidably involve individuals changing their habits to reduce plastic waste.

Jo Ruxton said a huge proportion of the plastics finding their way into our oceans come from single-use items, such as food wrapping and disposable cups. She argued much of it was avoidable and that small lifestyle changes could collectively make a huge difference to the state of the oceans. “In this country we are lucky to have good drinking water in our taps, so the idea of buying bottles of water is ridiculous, we just don’t need it.”

Other small changes she said would reduce waste included buying bars of soap rather than the liquid bottled form, buying butter in paper and using a butter dish over a plastic tub and avoiding disposable coffee cups, which have a plastic coating. “Even with recycling, it eventually has to go somewhere,” added Ms Ruxton. “You can only do it about 15 to 20 times and then you end up with a mass of material that no one wants. But we are still producing more and more and more of it.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/09/truly-alarming-scale-global-ocean-plastic-crisis-laid-bare-storm/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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YouTube - rubbish in the sea off Bali. Truly shocking.
(I picked up a whole sack near Laem Sing this morning).

''A British diver has captured shocking images of himself swimming through a sea of plastic rubbish off the coast of the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali. A short video posted by diver Rich Horner on his social media account and on YouTube shows the water densely strewn with plastic waste and yellowing food wrappers, the occasional tropical fish darting through the deluge.

The footage was shot at a dive site called Manta Point, a cleaning station for the large rays on the island of Nusa Penida, about 20km from the popular Indonesian holiday island of Bali.''

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/plastic-british-diver-films-sea-rubbish-bali-indonesia
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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The 'Matt' cartoon in the DT today, shows two old Fisherman chatting :-

''After Brexit, I don't want EU boats coming over here and catching all our plastic' ! 

???
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Last week whilst fishing in the estuary at Laem Sing, I caught 3 plastic bags. That shocking video from Bali (March 6th) demonstrates a wider if not a universal problem. Litter everywhere in Thailand too, not least on the beaches.

Here's a report of garbage in Lebanon ::-

''We’re about five metres away from the Mediterranean Sea. To my right, the Zouk Mosbeh power plant pumps out plumes of thick grey smoke into an otherwise bright blue sky. The Jounieh Valley towers behind me over the coastline, a metropolis full of hotels and entertainment venues just outside of Beirut. To my left, I can see some sort of resort in the distance. But all I can smell – and all I can see around me – is rubbish.

This beach has already been cleaned up 16 times, and had been cleaned less than a week before I stepped onto it
.''

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180328-lebanon-is-drowning-in-its-own-waste

It's good to see that PM Payuth has time to advise Thai people on such crucial matters as the wearing of 'traditional dress' more often - surely it would be more important to start to tackle the problems of say, litter, dogs and road safety effectively ? Etc., etc.

''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online caller

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It's good to see that PM Payuth has time to advise Thai people on such crucial matters as the wearing of 'traditional dress' more often - surely it would be more important to start to tackle the problems of say, litter, dogs and road safety effectively ? Etc., etc.

It's all part of his vision of 'Thainess' Roger, something to be preserved!  ;D


Offline Alfie

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A small step but better than nothing.



Thailand bans plastic bottle cap seals from April 1st

Thailand has discontinued seals for plastic bottle caps to reduce waste in water pipes causing death to marine animals. The goal is to lower the volume of plastic waste amounting to 2,600 million pieces or 520 metric tons per year by 2019.

Plastic bottle seals are harmful to the environment because they are non-degradable and uncollectable. The Pollution Control Department, Thai Beverage Industry Association, and related agencies have collaborated to ban water bottle seals. Boon Rawd Brewery Company Limited, Sermsuk Public Company Limited, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, Nestle Thailand Company Limited, and Carabao Group Public Company Limited already joined the campaign before April 1st.

The Pollution Control Department is urging small drinking water suppliers to discontinue water bottle seals and aiming to remove them nationwide by 2019.

http://thainews.prd.go.th/website_en/news/news_detail/WNOHT6104010010004
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Online Roger

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Any small step is great, but maybe we need some big steps too ! Quite a long report in the Guardian and some brilliant photos.

The smaller the piece of plastic, the more species consume it. Everything that’s tiny is at the base of the food web, so it’s not just albatross and sperm whales, you literally have microplastics and nanoplastics being eaten by sea cucumbers, corals, clams and muscles, zooplankton and krill – right at the very base of the food web. You have all levels of the food web infiltrated. And where the plastics go, the chemicals follow.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/plastic-is-literally-everywhere-the-epidemic-attacking-australias-oceans
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Here's some pics from neighbouring Cambodia - just appalling.
Almost unbelievable !

Every river, every lake just filled with mountains and mountains of plastic as is already the case all over Cambodia.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/25/mountains-and-mountains-of-plastic-life-on-cambodias-polluted-coast
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Offline Alfie

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Thailand bans plastic bottle cap seals from April 1st

Thailand has discontinued seals for plastic bottle caps to reduce waste in water pipes causing death to marine animals. The goal is to lower the volume of plastic waste amounting to 2,600 million pieces or 520 metric tons per year by 2019.

Plastic bottle seals are harmful to the environment because they are non-degradable and uncollectable. The Pollution Control Department, Thai Beverage Industry Association, and related agencies have collaborated to ban water bottle seals. Boon Rawd Brewery Company Limited, Sermsuk Public Company Limited, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, Nestle Thailand Company Limited, and Carabao Group Public Company Limited already joined the campaign before April 1st.

The Pollution Control Department is urging small drinking water suppliers to discontinue water bottle seals and aiming to remove them nationwide by 2019.

http://thainews.prd.go.th/website_en/news/news_detail/WNOHT6104010010004

I have noticed some change but some bottles still have plastic seals. Old stock, perhaps.

I have also noticed one company has changed the kind of plastic they use with 6 packs of water. It's harder to get off but perhaps that means it's better for the environment.
There are none so blind as those who will not see.


Offline TheOddViking

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Singa 1.5 l water bottles are already without seal. Bought them two weeks ago. And yes, they were damn difficult to remove!


Online Roger

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I'm sure I'm not alone in refusing a plastic bag at the counter - it usually brings a smile. We should start a 'just say no' campaign !

''A whale has died in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags. The small male pilot whale was found barely alive in a canal near the border with Malaysia, Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said.

It vomited up five bags while rescuers used buoys to keep it afloat in a rescue attempt, while an umbrella was held to protect it from the blazing sun. A veterinary team tried "to help stabilise its illness" but the whale later died on Friday afternoon, officials said. An autopsy revealed 80 plastic bags weighing up to eight kilograms (18 pounds) in the creature's stomach
.''

https://news.sky.com/story/whale-dies-after-swallowing-80-plastic-bags-off-southern-thailand-11392657

All said and done, the use of plastic bags IS essential to eating of Thai 'street' food - to tax or ban would be a bad call IMO. But I'd bet that plastic bags and packing could be reduced by 50% if there was the will. Then the remaining 50% could be disposed of safely . . . .

And it's not just Thailand of course. Here's what the whales (and us) have to put up with in Bali, again : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/plastic-british-diver-films-sea-rubbish-bali-indonesia
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Ratsima

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I took this video along Liap Nakhon several months ago.


As you can see, a good deal of this is plastic, but there's also plenty of green garbage as well as construction debris. The road is adjacent to a wetland, so the toxins and plastic bits eventually end up in the ground water and our water supply and the ocean.

The government finally gave up posting signs and has put up a flimsy barbed wire fence along the road. I guess we'll see how long that lasts.



Online Hector

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Not really plastic pollution" but definitely related and I am wondering why we haven't seen this reported here in LoS - or maybe it has and I missed it.
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-44467892/thailand-s-rubbish-clearing-beachbot
It's a clever piece of engineering and is obviously a step in the right direction, but I reckon a regiment of giant sized ones would be needed to make any serious impact on Thailand's beaches,  Meanwhile, plastic bags seem to be given out in ever increasing quantities by most shops and supermarkets here, so I can't help feeling that one is not going to see much other than talk here on plastic pollution for a while.


Offline Coolkorat

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Are there recycling centres in Korat? Not just catering for the 'low hanging' waste (the waste that has value), but proper centres with different areas for different waste. Places where waste can be brought to be properly handled?


Ratsima

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Are there recycling centres in Korat? Not just catering for the 'low hanging' waste (the waste that has value), but proper centres with different areas for different waste. Places where waste can be brought to be properly handled?

I think not. Our Tambon recently distributed red "hazardous waste" bins to the usual collection points, but I have no idea what happens to anything dumped therein. There is also a hazardous waste collection box in front of Wat Lakroi on Mukkamontree road. No idea what happens to stuff put in there, either. The Nokia shop at The Mall used to have a bin for broken/obsolete mobile phones, but they're long gone.


Online Roger

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Thanks for that Anton -  the Authorities are trying to get hold of the problem . . . BUT as noted, it is ''an enforcement scheme difficult to imagine in practice'' - you can say that again ! Also there is an actual practical need for plastic bags and bottles - they can't stop them being used at all.

It's OK to use all this stuff but it must be disposed of properly or recycled when possible.

Personally I think a dynamic battle to raise awareness PLUS enforcement of littering penalties is the way to go. Just a last note - this styrofoam is awful stuff - I've seen it in the beach breaking down into tiny particles with the wave action.
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Not just plastic - awful sights in this article. Tetra-Paks the main problem this time :-

''It takes 45 minutes to pick up all the milk cartons that have washed up on Long Hai beach overnight. “I feel like all I do is collect them,” says Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tham, gesturing towards the quiet length of sand that fronts her beach house in the south of Vietnam. “I fill about three or four bags every morning, but then there will be a big wave, and when I look back over my shoulder the sand is covered again.” Milk cartons aren’t the only rubbish that washes up on her shores; bottles of Coca-Cola float in the shallows next to odd shoes, bin bags and sodden bits of cardboard. Once or twice a year, there’s a dead body.''

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/09/billions-discarded-tetra-pak-cover-vietnams-beaches-towns
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Something must be done   >:(   Plastic in the BEER now  :o   :o

''The average person now ingests five grams of plastic each week, the equivalent of a credit card, a new report by WWF has found. Researchers found that people are consuming up to 102,000 tiny pieces of plastic of less than 1mm -  250 grams each year - with nearly 90 per cent coming from water, both bottled and tap.

Other foods with highest plastic levels include shellfish, beer and salt. Alec Taylor, Head of Marine Policy at WWF, said: “Plastic is polluting our planet in the deepest ocean trenches, but now we know that it’s also polluting our own bodies, through the food we eat and the water we drink.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/06/11/average-person-swallows-plastic-equivalent-credit-card-every/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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''The scandal of everyday food items being sold in 'excessive' wasteful plastic.''

I'll second that ! I recently purchased a 'U' tap for the kitchen sink - it needed a chisel to open it. Those excellent '3M' scissors in Tesco B45 - you can't gettem outa the pack without a pair of scissors !

The DT today :-

''Everyday food items are being sold in “excessive” oversized plastic packaging up to twice the size of the contents, a Telegraph investigation has found. Retailers are selling popular products with roomy wrapping which is often difficult to recycle.  Many of the worst offenders identified by this newspaper are supermarket own-brand items.''

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/19/revealed-scandal-everyday-food-items-sold-excessive-wasteful/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein