BANGKOK, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Thai Tourism and Sport Ministry on Tuesday pledged to cut tourism-related waste by 50 percent by 2020.
"It is our responsibility to clean up the environment and raise awareness amongst Thais as well as seek cooperation from tourists to safeguard our waters and land," Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat said.
"Single-use plastic bags, fabric bags, portable water bottles, foam boxes and single use straws will all be wiped out."
The minister said one of the main campaigns this year in promoting eco-tourism is to ask private sectors for cooperation in eliminating the use of non-degradable products at tourism hot spots.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has also banned the use of single-use foam and plastic containers in all 154 national parks country-wide.
"The waste had created a negative impact in Thailand's forest ecosystems. Now all signs have been erected and no commercial stores inside parks are allowed to promote the use of single-use plastic bags," Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanchanarat said.
The ministry launched a "Green National Park" campaign in 2015 and laid out policies amongst stakeholders in all national parks.
"There is an immense drop in the use of single plastic bags since the campaign was launched," the environment minister said, "but we need to do more. We must resort to local cooperation and local and international media campaigns to tell our international friends that Thailand is very serious in tackling plastic waste."
The environment ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that in the past 10 years, plastic waste had accounted for about 12 percent of waste, an equivalent of 2 million tons a year.
"And these plastic wastes were also difficult to decompose and recycle, therefore the best resolution is to eliminate all single use plastic bags and foams," said the environment minister.
According to the Pollution Control Department's information, of the 10.78 million tons of garbage generated in 23 coastal provinces in 2016, about 1.3 million tons were plastic trash and 74 percent of them were properly disposed of, while the remaining were washed into seas.