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 streets of greater Bangkok as people begin to rely on take-outs and food delivery services to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines, said director-general of the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Pralong Dumrongthai.
According to the PCD, the volume of plastic waste has increased significantly since March 26, when the government banned restaurants from serving dine-in patrons. “Most of the waste is ready-to-eat food packages, plastic utensils and glass,” he said.
According to Dumrongthai, the problem is compounded by the absence of a public campaign to educate people about the importance of sorting their waste.
“People tend to combine their garbage, often mixing food scraps with recyclables, which makes it harder for garbage collectors to sort it out and recycle,” he said.
With grocery stores being one of the few places still open during COVID-19 lockdowns, disposable plastic bags are also making a comeback as some people fear that reusable bags could spread the disease. Before the pandemic, a growing number of governments banned single-use plastic bags in an effort to cut down on waste. But as the novel coronavirus has spread around the globe, people are increasingly concerned about coming in close contact with other people and their possessions, including reusable bags.