This week the Department of National Parks (DNP) has announced that it is following the lead of other government departments in Thailand and reassessing its allowance of one use plastics in order to protect the environment both in the parks and downstream (incl. marine).
We are lkely to see policy to introduce bans on "one use plastics" in national park's internal functions to include, procurement, operations, food services, gift packings, and hopefully a lot more as well as a public awareness campaign in the parks.
Cutting the use and availability of plastics is a great move by the DNP but individuals can and should do their bit as well - after all those platics bags and rubbish being thrown out of car windows and littering camp sites is not discarded by the DNP but by park visitors, whom are a group we all belong to.
We know all of our members would never think of doing something as gross as littering, but thought it might be good idea to share some ideas of how one can lessen one's environmental impact whilst in a national park.
So heres a few ideas ...........
1) Buy bulk water in large bottles rather than small bottles - and fill smaller reusable water jars/bottles daily such and Nalgene.
2) Avoid pre-packaged foods (such as 7/11) and meals and prepare your own in reusable containers or better cook in the park.
3) If buying food near a park take your own plastic container rather than accepting plastic or polystyrene packaging from the vendor.
4) Always make sure you keep a strong master trash pack and keep it in your car boot or in a sealed box overnight (animals love to shred the bag at night)
5) Always make sure you go back for one last check of your site before you leave - you will always find something you have discarded or missed. If you come across other people's small rubbish, do the forest a favour and take it out with you as well.
6) Always take all of your rubbish home - unless the park has a disposal and recycling facility especially for visitors
7) Use detergents sparingly - wash-up at least 20 metres from streams.
8 ) Only drive on formed tracks and roads. Park immediately adjacent to tracks where it is safe to do so and take care not to damage vegetation around campsites with vehicles.
9) Think before throwing out food scraps as they can be disruptive to native animals, and some waste do not decompose quickly.
10) Don't burn or bury rubbish. Burying food waste disturbs the soil and animals will just dig it up later.
11) Where there is a toilet, use it. Where toilets are not available, choose a spot at least 40 metres from campsites, tracks, streams, etc, dig a small hole and bury your waste, esp toilet paper/wet wipes.