Marine pollution, especially from land-based activities, poses one of the most serious threats to marine environment. Excess nutrients discharged frequently lead to coastal eutrophication and algal blooms, which consequently result in harm on marine ecosystems and resources. Problem of marine debris, especially plastic, is pervasive and increasing globally. Recent scientific reports have revealed the amount of 6-12 million tons of plastics escaped into the worlds oceans annually. Worsen situation and the detrimental effects of plastic debris on marine biota, ecosystems, as well as human health and socio-economic domain have prompted global concerns regarding the issue. About 80% of marine plastic debris is land-based, caused by inefficient waste management and poor habit in handling plastic wastes.
General situation regarding marine debris holds true for most coastal states, including Thailand. Total amount of garbage, uncollected and/or disposed improperly, from coastal provinces of Thailand was estimated at 2.83 million tons in the year 2016, of which 12% was plastic. The approximate fraction of 15% mismanaged plastic wastes, ca. 51,000 tons, ended up in Thai waters each year. With a view to improving the situation, Thailand has emphasized the need to address marine plastic debris by declaring comprehensive and integrated actions both in terms of policy and practice, with full participatory of all concerned stakeholders.
To assure proper protection of marine environment with collaborative effort of governments and various agencies concerned, Thailand has established the 20-Year Pollution Management Strategy, Pollution Management Plan 2017-2021, and Master Plan on Waste Management 2016-2021. Furthermore, Thailand will launch a Plastic Debris Management Plan, comprising several approaches, such as developing fiscal and financial tool for plastic debris management, promoting and encouraging eco-packaging design and eco-friendly substitute for plastic materials, developing a material flow of plastic containers and packaging inventory, implementing 3Rs (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) strategy for plastic debris management, and promoting education for relevant stakeholders in field of plastic material and its substitute.
Immediate actions include; 1) removing the abandoned marine litters from coastal ecosystems through cleanup campaign in the coastal provinces, 2) implementing plastic waste reduction measures in all 549 coastal municipalities, with selected target groups including artisanal fishing community, commercial fishing operators, coastal villages, eco-tourism operators, and communities operating small-medium enterprise, 3) undertaking researches for better understanding on situation and impacts of plastic debris in marine environment and also for achieving sufficient evidence to support proper management intervention, and 4) establishing national database of marine debris according to the International Coastal Cleanup format for future reference.
Marine plastic debris degrades extremely slowly in natural environment and is highly transported by currents and ocean circulation, so that its devastating impacts and treats can be extended from local to regional-wide areas. This suggests the need of cooperation and coalition concerning prevention and management, as well as information sharing and capacity building. Thailand expresses its full intention to actively participate and cooperate with countries in the region including international and intergovernmental organizations to reduce plastic debris in the ocean.
Updates to voluntary commitment
Adoption of action plans in relation to pollution control and management and solid waste management, including marine litter
Conducting research and awareness raising
Beach clean-up campaign in 23 coastal provinces
Reduction of single-use plastic
Financing (in USD)
In-kind contribution to be derived from all involved governmental agencies, local administration, and public/private sectors.
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff and technical experts from governments and various agencies concerned jointly worked in drafting the action plans and measures for plastic litter reduction