Waste plastic imports 'to be banned'

Waste plastic imports 'to be banned'

Bid to crack down on trash management

Plastic import at an industrial park in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok. (Police file photo)
Plastic import at an industrial park in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok. (Police file photo)

Authorities plan to ban the import of all electronic and plastic waste next year, in a move to improve garbage management.

The ban was announced by a new subcommittee on the two garbage types, led by National Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, who yesterday said he was determined to achieve the goal.

"We will ban all imports," Mr Varawut said after the group's first meeting on Wednesday.

However, the minister admitted it will be an uphill task since the drastic measure requires amending the law.

His 29-member subcommittee works under the National Environment Board, chaired by deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon. Among items topping the subcommittee's agenda is a review of the import quotas for electronic and plastic waste.

Mr Varawut said his group will start by taking a close look at the current import and export of plastic garbage.

"We are considering whether to offset the imports against exports," he said.

Subcommittee members yesterday set up three working panels, one of which will look into the matter.

The panels will deal with electronic and plastic waste management, plastic garbage usage, and public relations.

"You may be wondering why the subcommittee needs to set up its own subcommittees," Mr Varawut said.

He explained the panels would use experts to inspect how agencies and the private sector deal with garbage.

The subcommittee also discussed ways to deal with garbage smuggled into Thailand. Mr Varawut expressed concern over a regulation that allows garbage to be sold domestically if it is considered harmless to the environment.

Some of this trash ends up as landfill. "This is not correct," Mr Varawut said, blaming a loophole in the law for causing what he called inefficient garbage management.

Meanwhile, the cabinet on Tuesday approved a ministerial law proposed by the Industry Ministry to deal with smuggled electronic scrap.

The law bans factories from using certain types of imported e-waste as raw materials in their manufacturing processes, according deputy spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

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