The government is being urged to address the problem of toxic waste, in particular by strengthening penalties against violators.
The Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF) says poor management of toxic waste is having a drastic impact on the environment.
The SCRF proposed a ban on the existing treatment of hazardous waste and is promoting a zero-landfill goal.
The committee also wants the state to amend the law to stiffen penalties against violators, as the punishment course under the Hazardous Substance Act of 1992 is too light: two years in jail and a 200,000 baht fine.
Payungsak Chartsuthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the modest punishment has resulted in more smuggling of hazardous waste into public areas.
He quoted SCRF chairman Virabongsa Ramangkura as saying the problem will likely become worse due to the ongoing industrial expansion.
According to an Industry Ministry report, Thailand generates 27 million tonnes of waste per year, of which 23.4 million tonnes is recyclable and 3.6 million is hazardous waste, mainly from the automotive industry.
The figures exclude 1 million tonnes of electronic waste a year from households, 200,000 tonnes of which is thought to contain hazardous substances.
Just 90 treatment centres exist for electronic waste, with an annual capacity of 6,000 tonnes.
Mr Payungsak said the SCRF supports a proposal by the Industry Ministry to study how to improve hazardous waste disposal, using a budget of 13 million baht. He said the ministry wants to set up hazardous treatment facilities that can handle 500 tonnes of waste a day or 180,000 tonnes a year.
About the author
- Writer: Chatrudee Theparat
Position: Business Reporter