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Thai National Park posting bags of garbage back to messy campers

Politicians in Thailand have come up with a novel way to deal with tourists trashing National Parks — by mailing them back the rubbish they left behind.The country’s natural resources and environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa posted pictures of bags of garbage in a postage box on Facebook, with a note that read, “You forgot something…

Politicians in Thailand have come up with a novel way to deal with tourists trashing National Parks — by mailing them back the rubbish they left behind.

The country’s natural resources and environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa posted pictures of bags of garbage in a postage box on Facebook, with a note that read, “You forgot something at Khao Yai National Park”.

“The garbage that tourists left in the park is now packed into the box. It’s ready to be returned to the owner,” Varawut’s Facebook post read, attracting more than 2100 reactions.

The move was triggered after an outraged woman posted on Facebook about tourists who abandoned their tents in Khao Yai National Park when bad weather hit, leaving them filled with garbage.

“If you come, you have no conscience because in the park, there are many wild animals that come out to eat … like monkey,” the woman wrote.

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Varawut said there had been recent examples of poor behaviour in National Parks, including the incident at Khao Yai. He also mentioned an incident at Sam Lan Waterfalls, where “intoxicated” tourists led to complaints.

“There is warning by authorities, but it doesn’t follow,” he said.

Varawut later posted more information on the new policy, saying the government will move to “blacklist” park visitors who dump garbage, are intoxicated or noisy and said “dumping garbage in the park is a crime”.

He also announced new penalties, including a maximum five-year prison term, or $22,479 (500,000 baht) fine for anyone who “deteriorates natural resources or any other actions that affect ecosystem, biodiversity, natural resources and environment”.

People in the park also “must follow the orders of staff” and anyone seen “doing something that may harm others or themselves or bother or annoys people or animals or causes damage to nature or other things” is liable for a $4495 (100,000 baht) fine.

Varawut was praised on Facebook for the measures, with locals calling him “decisive and clear”.

“He comes in for a real job for Thailand. He is a minister who works before talking … It’s really done, not playing politics for fun,” one woman wrote.

“I have waited for this kind of manner for a long time. Support this policy fully,” another said. “But it will be blacklist for real results. The data system must be connected to all parks. Otherwise, it won’t be effective.”

“I’m glad and grateful that there is a clear implementation of concrete measures and punishment,” another said.

“Nature, animals, plants will be rehabilitated and rehabilitated faster.”

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