Thai Environment Day, Dec. 4, 2009 was chosen for the official signing of Phuket's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU is a program of the Phuket Province and is part of the "Green Phuket" sustainability project.
Instituted by the Phuket Provincial Energy Office, the Memorandum of Understanding is a signed agreement between Phuket Province and retail stores. The MoU simply states that stores will not give out free plastic shopping bags - instead they will charge the customer a fee for the plastic bag. A public awareness campaign for the plastic shopping bag fee is set to begin on Feb. 14, 2010.
The first of its kind in Thailand, the MoU is an attempt to reduce the excessive amount of garbage that is generated daily on the island. Phuket Province hopes that by charging a fee for plastic shopping bags, more people will switch to reusable bags.
Phuket, one of the southern provinces of Thailand, is Thailands largest island. In 2005, cnnmoney.com/fortune/ rated Phuket as an idyllic place to retire. However, the waste problem is severe. Each day, Phuket Province generates twice the amount of trash that can be burned in the island's one incinerator. It is hoped that the MoU will help this problem.