Litterbugs who drop their rubbish in national parks in Thailand may be in for a surprise the next time they check their mail - the litter they left may have been returned to them. Thailand's Environment Minister has decided to take a stand on the increasing amount of sweet wrappers, plastic bottles and paper that is strewn across national parks. He has asked park wardens to collect the litter and mail it to the offending litterbug. It comes with a letter that says: "We collected your garbage in a cardboard box and sent it to your home. This should be a lesson to you, to never again throw away waste anywhere." Additional penalties could come in the form of five years imprisonment or a hefty $16,000 fine.
The severe penalties have been initiated because of litter becoming an eyesore in many of Thailand's beauty spots. Park wardens say it is relatively easy to track down and identify offenders, as all visitors to the parks are required to register their address when they enter a park. Anyone who leaves refuse near their assigned camping spot will be reunited with their waste. Narin Pinsakul, chief of the Khao Yai National Park near Bangkok, explained why the parks were introducing their return-to-litterbug policy. He said: "It can be dangerous for animals like deer if they eat the rubbish and try to digest plastic waste that people leave behind." The Environment Minister said people should only leave footprints behind.