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IDU Assessment: Water Project

The Chao Phraya River is also known as The Lifeblood of Thailand, forming in the confluence of the Ping and Nan, and running from the northern mountains in Chiang Mai, all the way to the south, exiting at the gulf of Thailand. It supplies water for almost all of the population in Thailand, supporting Thailands Economy, Health, and Society. But this river is seriously polluted with garbage, fertilizers, and many other pollutants. Which has caused trouble for a lot of people. To improve this system, we should encourage people that buy from the street vendors, to start recycling bags, instead of using a different plastic bag each time they consume a product.

Indicators of the Problem

(Indicator: Plastic bags) During the week of February 25th, NIST year 7 students have studied the indicators of the Chao Phraya Rivers health. We have found out that the majority of the trash in the river is Styrofoam, and the second most is plastic bags. This has caused for the river to become extremely unhealthy, as seen through the indicators below:

Quality indicators of my problem Plastic Bags from Food Venders Dead Fish Waterfowl Clogged Waterways

Current level Lots Some Some Lots/ Some (by plastic bags)

Predicted positive trend if innovation is implemented Fewer None More Less

Causes & Effects

Hand-Made Systems Map

Systems Map Made With Computer

Effects of Plastic Bags

As seen from the systems map and T-Chart above, plastic bags in the river can cause a lot of harm in economy, due to the sight and smell it creates. With the addition of the land and natural resources it ruins, it causes tourists to not consider coming back. It also clogs up waterways, causing damage for nature, when it ends up on land, and in water. Plastic bags also result for health and life problems, not only to marine life and in their ecosystem, but to humans as well. This can also decrease efficiency and convenience in travel and delivering, meaning that it affects peoples lifestyle, and thats all just because of shops and vendors using them for packaging, wrapping and other selling purposes!

Perspectives on Plastic Bags

Different stakeholders have different perspectives on the use of plastic bags and how they have been treated. Heres a table showing the perspectives of people who play different roles to the plastic bags (written in the third person, except for Marine Life):

Street Vendors/Shops

Street vendors and shops probably dont know the consumers dont take care of the plastic bags properly, and possibly do it themselves as well. They might feel like plastic bags is great to use, since its cheap and easy to get, and consumers dont bother to use it. Plastic bags also earn them more business since customers would like to have something for carrying the products they bought, or something to wrap it up. This can cause for them to not care, since it can help them in business. Consumers come and go every now and then, rushed, and might not have time to sit down and eat, or dont have space in their own bags to put in the products. Thats why plastic bags seem to be the easiest and best solution to them. Paper bags sometimes are probably a bit too stiff to use, while plastic bags can be put into any form, and are lighter. So plastic bags are probably just more convenient to the consumers. We are sick of all the plastic bags coming into the river everyday, it doesnt only ruin our environment and home. It also spreads all types of chemicals and GERMS to us. Our friends are dying, and its made it very hard for us to see and travel. We want to move out of this river system, but we cant. The tourist might get disgusted by the fact that the lifeblood of Thailand is a polluted river filled with plastic bags and other types of trash floating around. That might result for them to not consider coming back. They might also hate the fact that food venders put liquids into plastic bags. But on the other hand, they might like to use plastic bags to organize their packs, and souvenirs. Or prefer plastic bags to paper bags, who sometimes are too stiff to fit into any space, and sometimes heavier.

Consumers (Business People)

Fish / Marine Life


Why this is an Ideal Point to Make a Change

As can be seen from the systems map and perspectives chart, many concepts contribute to the result of plastic bags being in the river, including: Lack of trash bins Street vendors and shops providing only plastic bags for people to use Wind, rain, and floods carrying the plastic bags into the river No strict laws about the use of plastic bags

I think that the key to changing this system, is the shops and street vendors providing plastic bags, and ONLY plastic bags, for the consumers to use. This is the key point to change, since it results in reducing the amount of plastic bags used.

The proposed innovation is to educate the street vendors to encourage consumers of using one recycled bag, by giving them free coupons if they do. This innovation will be effective for the following reasons:

Although the majority of plastic bags are non-biodegradable, meaning that they cant decompose on their own, there are biodegradable plastic bags. However, they decompose long enough to threaten animals who think theyre food, and ecosystems. If consumers are encouraged enough to use a recycled bag for carrying their belongings, it can not only decrease pollution within clogged waterways, but also improve life beside the river; by helping the animals and plants species increase with less pollution, and more available natural resources. By using this innovation, it can also mean less energy used for packaging and wrapping when you can just put it in a recycled bag, also, it doesnt create un environmentally- friendly problems.

Plastic bags dont cost much, in fact, they are really cheap! For the consumers, it is as equally cheap, so plastic bags is really a good solution when economy is low, and people cant afford for wrappers or packaging. But if customers are willing to adopt the new idea, then it could possibly save up even more money for both the vendors and consumers, since they can save up the money for buying plastic bags. This means the same business with less cost, and it wouldnt result to the loss of jobs, but in terms of decreasing production of factories, it probably would.

Though this innovation changes the traditional way people sell food, it can really help improve the lifestyle of the riverside communities, by saving up travel time, and making their situation better in many ways. According to the one of the residents of the riverside, the people try very hard to improve their community. If this innovation could be achieved, then their goal would be one step closer to coming true.

It has been reported that plastic and heat causes a poisonous gas to form. This means, that when the street vendors put steaming food into plastic bags, it creates this poisonous gas, which can cause serious effects on peoples health. Hot drinks can also lead to the same result. If people use one recycled bag, it is most likely that they are not using a plastic bag as one. This means that the street food wont be put into plastic bags that often, and it can lessen the amount unhealthy people. This can also lead to people liking this innovation better, and using it more.


Explain why your innovation is effective Briefly review the positive impacts on each of the points of the sustainability compass. Close with a memorable statement filled with hope and positivity!

Plastic bags have been a major problem to the Chao Phraya river system, for quite some time. They clog up waterways, and affect the peoples lifestyles in various ways, also decreasing life on the riverside. They have lead to many problems for different stakeholders, such as Tourists and Marine Life. This is why using recycled bags is a good idea, since it can lead to more life on the riverside, less cost in both the business and consuming, achieving riverside residents wishes, and most importantly, lessens the possibility of unhealthy life due to plastic and heat. So if the proposed innovation could be used, it could not only improve the river system as a whole, but also positively impact people in various way!

Works Cited:
"Say NO to Plastic Bags Today!" Say NO to Plastic Bags Today! Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <>. "Heat Causes Chemical to Leach from Plastic -" Heat Causes Chemical to Leach from Plastic - Web. 02 Apr. 2014. <> N.p., n.d. Web. < 0Council%2FPlastic%2520Bag%2520Facts.htm>.