Thailand to keep plastic waste import ban in place

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Warawut Silpa-archa is determined to maintain a ban on importing plastic and electronic waste and expand its scope next year.

In November 2018, Thailand banned the import of most types of plastic waste and 422 items classified as electronic waste, or e-waste.

Public concern about plastic waste and pollution rose dramatically in 2018 after a pilot whale washed up on a Thai beach and died because it had consumed too much plastic in the ocean.

Warawut said that he set up three committees to study the bans’ repercussions. The Department of Industrial Works has been advocating for allowing some plastic waste imports because they provide raw materials for some factories.

The Minister confirmed that he had instructed the department to analyze plastic products, the number of companies using plastic waste, and the precise shortage of raw materials so the Ministry can propose a new limit.

The Customs Department has also stepped up surveillance at ports and is conducting a survey to determine how much waste is arriving in containers. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is also considering sending the waste back from where it was shipped.

The Department of Pollution Control said late last month that it was drafting the country’s first-ever plastic waste management bill, with a goal to make plastic 100 percent recyclable by 2027.

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