Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched a major waste reduction, recycling and clean-up project designed to accelerate the conversion of prime tourist areas into Zero Waste Cities.
Launched in cooperation with the consumer products multinational corporation Unilever, the TRASH (Tourism to Recycling Actions for the Schools and Homes) Project will start with the beach resort of Krabi before being expanded in stages nationwide.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 29 October, 2019, by the Executive Director Office of the Governor Ms. Chutathip Chareonlarp, Mr. Robert Candelino, , and Mr. Channarong Leelaburanapong, Krabi City Deputy Mayor.
The Project recognises that both tourists and local residents generate millions of tonnes of discarded waste ranging from shampoo bottles and detergent packaging to containers of many consumer products; such as, toothpaste and confectionery.
Irrespective of whether it is generated by hotels, schools or homes, all this waste either lands up in landfills or the canals, rivers or the sea, impacting on the quality of destinations and affecting the local quality of life.
The Project continues a series of actions initiated by TAT to align its future development policies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and upgrade the overall management of tourism destinations nationwide.
Initially, TAT has chosen to operate in accordance with 5 goals, which are:
SDG1: No Poverty
SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals
Ms. Chutathip said, “Economic growth is vital for job creation and income distribution, and tourism is playing a major role. But we need to better manage the ecological and environmental consequences of surging visitor arrivals, and the TRASH project is designed to do exactly that.”
The TRASH project will apply the concept of a circular economy by creating a “resource rotation” process and help schools and communities manage all forms of waste.
This will include proper separation of waste by category (glass, plastic, biodegradables, etc), better waste collection at hotspots and converting recyclable waste into value-added products.
Emphasis will be placed on HDPE plastic waste; such as, milk bottles, shampoo bottles, lotion bottles, liquid soap bottles, cleaning liquid bottles, etc. and flexible plastic waste including candy sachets, refilled soap bags, shampoo refill bags, etc.
The entire project is intended to cover a timeline of five year. It will also include training programmes for local communities and public relations activities to enhance awareness and encourage strong grassroots participation.
Ms. Chutathip added, “Discarded, non-recycled waste is the cause of many social and environmental problems. It also affects the image of Thailand as a quality tourism destination. This project will also give our 55 emerging provincial destinations a chance to address these challenges now so that they don’t have to face the consequences later.”