Oct 10, 2018 | BY Chris Couve
Sunday 7th October 2018 saw Precious Plastic Bangkok and Trash Hero Bangkok coming together for the first time in a large-scale cleanup operation. The cleanup brought together over 100 volunteers to help clean up the historic Rama 9 community (Bueang Rama IX). In total, approximately 600kg of trash was removed from the community.
This cleanup was aimed at bringing together members of the local community, Bangkokians as well as a whole host of other volunteers from around the world all wanting to help collect waste and work together to recycle it.
“It was a great help to have Trash Hero and Precious Plastic helping our community-fighting plastic and rubbish along the roads and khlongs. This work is an important thing to happen in Bangkok and it has motivated us to see how we can introduce more recycling into the community.” SomwangbTrinsak, Bueang Rama IX community leader.
This cleanup was also aimed at building a greater understanding of the kinds of plastic pollution that enter our khlongs, rivers, and eventually our seas. Dr Wayne Phillips (professor from Mahidol University) joined the cleanup efforts to sort and count the waste that was collected, collecting valuable data that will help raise awareness and influence plastic policies.
“Plastic is an incredibly useful material but because there is not yet any effective mechanism in place to encourage and ensure recycling it is creating problems. Plastic waste discarded in the streets will end up in the aquatic and marine environments. It is time for us to reflect on our choices and to modify our behaviour to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. This initiative provides simple solutions to complex problems.” Dr. Wayne Phillips, Professor at Mahidol University.
Precious Plastic is a global network of likeminded recycling projects seeking to collect plastic waste, recycle it through a system of machines, and create new products from former waste that can be sold to bring benefits to local communities. Trash Hero has a network of over 60 ‘chapters’ around the world that mobilise local residents, schools, businesses, and other stakeholders in regular cleanups to remove trash from communities.
“We are here to bring awareness. We have a big trash problem and we want people to realize it. We can’t wait for others to fix it, it is up to every one of us to take action and do something about it. We believe that everyone can be a Trash Hero just by taking responsibility for their acts because small things can make big changes.” Albert Font De Rubinat, Director of Trash Hero Bangkok.
“Our cleanup efforts help to inspire and empower people to think of plastic waste not just as trash but something that is a valuable resource with real value.” Dominic Chakrabongse, Director of Precious Plastic Bangkok.
Precious Plastic Bangkok hopes to work on an ongoing basis with Bangkok communities such as Bueang Rama IX to collect plastic waste, recycle it onsite using easy-to-build machines, and then work with residents to produce products that they can sell and bring real benefits to their community. This will provide both an alternative source of income but also help keep the community clean as well as raise awareness for our ultimate goal of reducing plastic usage and wastage across the city and Thailand.
Dr. Taya Kitiyakara of the Faculty of Ramathibodi Hospital also attended the cleanup. He was deeply concerned about the effects of plastic pollution and especially the impact it is having on the natural environment here in Thailand.
“Nationwide action is needed now to prevent single-use plastics from being used in the first place. A government policy that charges consumers even just 1 or 2 baht per plastic bag would have a huge impact. This is a policy that has already been proven to work in other countries across the world.” Dr. Taya Kitiyakara, Faculty of Ramathibodi Hospital.
“We will continue working with Trash Hero and other organisations to mobilise efforts, spread the message about plastic pollution, work with local communities to reduce plastic waste, and inspire the next generation of plastic fighters. If children can be empowered to see plastic as a precious resource and start collecting it and recycling it then they will help inspire the rest of the world change too.” Dominic Chakrabongse.
About Precious Plastic
– Precious Plastic (PP) is a global recycling initiative started by Dave Hakkens (from the Netherlands) to design and build machines that can recycle plastic and create new products.
– PP machines can be built anywhere, using simple tools, allowing local communities, workshops to start recycling plastic wherever they live.
– Precious Plastic Bangkok’s page: https://www.facebook.com/PreciousPlasticBKK/
About Trash Hero
– Trash Hero is also a global network of ‘chapters’ helping to collect waste from their local communities. There are over 60 chapters around the world.
– Trash Hero works with residents, businesses, schools, tourists, and other stakeholders to take positive action on waste.
– Trash Hero Bangkok’s page:
About Thailand Plastic Waste
– Thailand produces 3.2 million tonnes of plastic waste a year (Ministry of National Resources and Environment).
– Thais use on average eight plastic bags per day = 198 billion per year.
– Bangkok produces 11,500 tonnes of waste per day with one tonne of this plastic. This figure rises by 10% each year. https://recyclinginternational.com/plastics/bangkok-locked-inconstant-