Thailand starts the decade with a plastic bag ban at major stores

Thailand is beginning the new decade with a plastic bag ban, forbidding single-use bags at major stores, officials told reporters Wednesday.

The ban at major stores is a part of the country’s campaign to reach a complete ban by 2021 to limit sea debris. The campaign picked up this year after animals like deer and baby dugong were found dead with plastic in their digestive systems. 

Varawut Silpa-Archa, the minister of natural resources and environment, told reporters Wednesday that Thailand was the sixth country that dumped the most waste in the water. 

“During the past five months, we were down to 10th … thanks to the cooperation of the Thai people,” Varawut said, according to Reuters, after giving out reusable bags.

The ministry reports that the country reduced the use of bags by 2 billion in the first part of the campaign, which involved customers voluntarily refusing plastic bags. 

Several U.S. states have also passed plastic bag bans, including in Maine, Vermont, New York, California and Hawaii’s counties.

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