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Credit: Chiang Mai Citylife

It is easy to blame the government for a lack of bans, but responsibility also lies in the will of the people, or lack thereof. Without a public outcry for stricter regulations, plastic bans remain elusive. Part of the problem stems from a lack of education, the laissez faire attitude of so many and the fact that there are many people who do not know the extent and dangers of plastic pollution. Dr. Sate Sampattagul is a researcher and professor at Chiang Mai University in the faculty of engineering. “Many people don’t understand how bad the situation is that we are facing,” he said, and explains that his research evaluates environmental impacts. “Research alone can only do so much. We need someone to bridge research with government policy,” he suggested. “To make a project you need to push really hard to get it started,” he said.

The hope from all these groups is that the efforts of the few will be adopted by the many. Bringing about a cultural norm of caring for the environment over convenience in the moment may be the best way to evoke lasting change. As Pradorn maintained, “I mostly work with individuals. Saying I work with the government or with the municipality is too small. Actually, there is no power there. You want to connect with something deeper.”

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