The Greta Thurnberg of Thailand has declared ‘war’ on plastic

Plastic trash on the beach. Photo source: Pixabay
Plastic trash on the beach. Photo source: Pixabay

In Thailand, each person on average uses and discards a plastic bag three thousand times per year — making Thailand, despite its relatively small population and size, the sixth worst source of plastic trash in the world’s oceans.

Ralyn Satidtanasarn — also known as Lilly, a 12-year-old girl in Thailand — is not standing for it.

Horrified by a visit to a beach that was blanketed in plastic trash, and inspired by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Lilly spends her time “at war,” she says — conducting sit-ins and participating in clean-ups in an attempt to change her country’s dire situation.

While she has been successful persuading some store chains to stop giving out plastic bags, Lilly has a much more formidable opponent: Thailand’s powerful petrochemical industry, which according to Agence France-Presse accounts for five percent of the national GDP and tens of thousands of jobs.

Public awareness of plastic trash in the ocean surged over the summer after a crew of scientists rescued a baby dugong — similar to the manatees found along the Florida coast — that had washed up on a Thai beach.

Images of the scientists’ rescue efforts became a social-media sensation, but the dugong, nicknamed “Mariam,” died of an infection in her stomach and intestines after swallowing ocean-borne plastic pollution.

Sources: Agence-France Presse (France), Deutsche Welle (Germany)

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