BANGKOK — A resident of a state quarantine facility said he was shocked to see more than 100 plastic containers used for his 14-day isolation.
Henry Tan, a Thai artist who returned from Japan and was put in state quarantine, shared photos of the plastic meal containers served to him during his stay at the Palazzo Bangkok hotel on his Facebook page. The post soon went viral, drawing criticism of the government’s waste policies.
“I thought of this trash, being multiplied by the thousands of people that had to go in state quarantine,” Henry, 33, said by phone Monday. “Just my flight alone resulted in 200 people in quarantine.”
One photo shows about 80 plastic food containers, with their lids, and 18 water bottles. The artist also stacked up the containers in different ways and photographed them.
Henry said meals would be left in front of his door at 6:30am, 11:30am, and 4:30pm. Each meal would come with a plastic box with rice and sides, sometimes in different boxes.
A small plastic bag with tissue, plastic cutlery, and a small packet of fish sauce was also provided with every single meal. He washed and reused cutlery in order to try to cut back on waste.
“So actually, there’s more waste used per quarantine person than the photos show,” he said.
He said that during his work stay in Japan, he got used to sorting garbage because different types of waste are picked up on different days.
“It’s a requirement when living there; part of the consciousness. So I picked up the trash sorting habit and decided to see how much I would use during quarantine.”
Henry, who completed his 14-day stay on Sunday, said he cleaned the plastic boxes and bottles, and left them with hotel staff for recycling.
A total of 13,861 had gone into state quarantine as of May 14, according to the government. Henry said he hopes officials will consider balancing between hygiences and plastic uses.
Plastic waste also surged since stay-at-home policies came into effect. Many people stopped bringing their own containers to shops for takeout, and garbage sorters are less likely to sort waste due to fear of contamination.
“I hope people will find ways to avoid plastic, even if it’s not convenient or easy, such as cooking at home or using pinto tiffin carriers,” Henry said.