Thailand

Thailand is the world’s sixth biggest contributor of marine plastic litter. There is an abundant leakage of plastic waste into water, waste water and drainage systems across the country.


Approximately 51,000 tons of the uncollected and improperly disposed plastic waste in Thailand gets washed into the sea each year. Along Thailand’s 3219km coastline – rich in coastal and marine biodiversity – plastic pollution is impacting the beaches, coral zone and mangrove ecosystems.

Causes and challenges

Economic growth – bringing increasing production and consumption – is leading to higher waste generation. Plastic production in Thailand is growing at 2.9 percent annually and it’s increasing. Plastic packaging waste is a major component of the waste found on the beaches in Thailand.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) collection rates in Thailand vary significantly between urban and rural areas. Open dumpsites outnumber sanitary landfill, with open dumping the most commonly used method of MSW disposal. Just 0.5 million tonnes of the plastic waste can currently be reused, whilst the remaining 1.5 million tonnes, (80 percent of which are single-use plastic bags) accumulate in official dumping sites or elsewhere. The unmanaged plastic waste component of MSW during its collection, transportation and disposal gets leaked into the ocean.

Ways forward

Thailand has strongly committed to address marine litter and plastic pollution. There is a well established and emerging environmental regulatory framework in place, supported by strong acts, plans and regulations. A marine litter and plastic waste master plan is under preparation. Key players in the private sector are involved in circular economy initiatives, as well as supporting recycling and disposal of plastic MSW, industrial and hazardous waste. Civil society organizations have undertaken successful initiatives to address marine litter and plastic pollution. Clear indicators and targets have been identified to reduce single use plastic production, increase recycling rates, improve packaging options and increase consumer awareness.  

 

News

SEA circular report launch: Consumers and business concerned about plastic waste but expect governments to do more

22 June 2020

UNEP and FIA have released a regional survey of consumers and food and beverage businesses across South-East Asia that shows a significant disconnect between expectation and action on reducing plastic waste.

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2020 Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct

18 May 2020

18 May 2020, Bangkok, Thailand: The COVID-19 crisis has dramatically disrupted business and exposed major vulnerabilities in the economy and global supply chains. This OECD event ​will gather thought leaders from government and

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Plastic use rising in SEA due to COVID-19

13 April 2020

13 April 2020, Bangkok, Thailand: Single-use plastic bags are making a comeback as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. After their use was restricted at the start of the year, plastic bags can once again be seen littering the st

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Events

Third Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean

29 October 2020

The Third Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean will take place on 29 October 2020 in a virtual modality, broadcasting from the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Moving Towards Circular Economy for Plastic Waste Management

20 October 2020

The SWITCH-Asia RPAC funded by European Union, implemented by UNEP, in partnership with AIT is pleased to cordially invite you to attend our upcoming Regional Policy Dialogue on Circular Economy for Plastic Waste Management.

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APEC Webinar Series on Promoting Investment to Combat Marine Litter and Build a Circular Economy in APEC — Innovative Technologies and Opportunities for Land Based Waste Management

20 October 9:00 pm EST

In support of the 2020 APEC priority “Driving Innovative Sustainability”, Malaysia, in collaboration with the MGTC and Ocean Conservancy, will co-host a marine debris webinar series.

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