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Return to Sender: Thai National Park Mails Back Litter to Campers

Trash left behind by campers at Khao Yai National Park.
Trash left behind by campers at Khao Yai National Park.

Nature lovers who flocked to Khao Yai National Park and then spoiled it with trash got their litter returned in the mail, with a police summons likely to follow.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa posted photos to his Facebook of the snack wrappers, plastic bottles, bags and other improperly disposed garbage left behind at the Nakhon Nayok park, along with snarky notes from park employees notifying them that Khao Yai was “kindly returning your forgotten items”.

Varawut instructed park officials to box up the garbage, which even included dangerous items such as spent natural-gas canisters, to teach the litterbugs a lesson.

In addition to being careless and inconsiderate, the polluting tourists apparently also weren’t that bright: They had given the park their Thai identification card to register their camping spot, providing park officials with their addresses, which they then put on police complaints.

Officers could soon be knocking on the doors of the litterbugs, advising them that their actions violated both the 2019 National Park Act by “spoiling the environment” – which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or a 500,000-baht fine – and another law requiring park visitors to comply with all rules and regulations or face a fine of up to 100,000 baht.

Litter and garbage not only spoil and pollute the environment, but are dangerous to wildlife. Just as Thaialnd’s endangered sea turtles die regularly by ingesting plastic bags they mistake as jellyfish, a 200-kilogram deer was found dead in a national park in Nan last year with seven kilograms of garbage in its stomach.