Firm told to repatriate illegal waste

Firm told to repatriate illegal waste

130 tonnes of trash came from Australia

Officers of the Pollution Control Department and the Customs Department inspect five containers that stored 130 tonnes of illegal waste on Thursday at the Customs office in Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri. (Photo: Customs Department)
Officers of the Pollution Control Department and the Customs Department inspect five containers that stored 130 tonnes of illegal waste on Thursday at the Customs office in Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri. (Photo: Customs Department)

Thai authorities have discovered 130 tonnes of illegal waste that was shipped over from Australia and dumped in the kingdom.

It will be pushed back to its country of origin because Thailand has no policy to accept such waste, according to the Department of Pollution Control, which plans to draft a waste management plan to remove landfills by 2037.

Attaporn Charoenchansa, the department chief, said he was contacted by the Department of Customs to examine five containers full of suspicious cargo.

The two departments found they contained household waste such as food packaging, face masks, sprays and sachets of medicine mixed with a shipment of paper waste. Household waste was found to comprise about a third of the total.

It is illegal to import any household waste into the country.

The 130-tonne shipment belongs to the Inter-Pacific Paper company, which shipped it from Australia to serve as raw material for producing paper rolls in its plant in Prachin Buri.

However, the company is contractually obliged to ensure that contaminated items should not comprise more than 1% of the total weight.

The company accepted its mistake and agreed to comply with legal procedures.

"We will ask the company to send the shipment back to Australia and the Department of Customs will take legal action against the company," Mr Attaporn said.

"The department will also work with the Department of Foreign Trade to issue a warning letter to the company, making it clear the country has no policy to accept any household waste."

He further added the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will in the near future implement a regulation banning all plastic waste shipments into the country, unless they clearly support local industries.

Moreover, it will limit the number of plastic recycling plants in the country. These currently constitute a legal loophole allowing for plastic waste to be imported.

Mr Attaporn said the department will submit a five-year waste management plan for the national environment board's consideration.

This includes a plan to halve the number of landfills by 2027 and completely eradicate them by 2037.

It also includes a plan to increase the capacity of biomass power plants, in the hope this will upscale the use of waste as a source of fuel from 6% to 50%.

By 2037, the country is projected to have 29.9 million tonnes of household waste, of which 53.4% will be segregated at home for reuse. Of that, 46.6% will be used to produce power.


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