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Prayut calls on everybody to join the fight against plastic

Aug 20. 2019
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Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on August 20 called on all Thais to help the government achieve its goal of keeping the seas clean of plastic after eight-month-old rescued dugong Mariam died after having consumed eight pieces of plastic.

Referring to another dugong pup, Yamil, under the care of authorities, Prayut said: “[Yamil] must not die, cannot die”, as he urged officials and volunteers to do their best to protect it. 

“I regret not having visited Mariam as I heard her condition [after being washed ashore in late April] was improving, but then she fell sick,” he said. “It’s a real pity that Mariam’s stomach was found filled with plastic, which is the kind of garbage that takes 450 years to disintegrate.” 

The premier spoke when Natural Resources Minister Warawuth Silpa-archa and director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Jatuporn Burutpat led officials to Government House to meet Prayut and provide him with information about the upcoming “reduce, refrain and stop the use of plastic to protect marine life” campaign. 

A team comprising members of the National Marine Resource Committee is also preparing a proposal for the Cabinet’s consideration about reducing the dugong death rate by 20 to 45 per cent and boosting its population by at least 50 per cent in the next decade. Currently, there are only 250 dugongs surviving in Thailand.

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