Thailand expands ban on electronic waste imports

“Thailand is not a global dumping site,” the Ministry of Commerce declared last week while announcing a ban on the import of 428 types of electronic waste, as the government stood firm in protecting the environment and promoting the circular economy.

Keerati Rashchano, Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said the full list of the 428 items could be found on the Department’s website. The Ministry will also launch campaigns to encourage citizens to care for the environment in addition to the ban.

For several years, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia had become destinations for shipments of electronic waste and plastic refuse.

A number of incidents around the region in recent years have brought attention to these problems. A pilot whale washed up and died on a beach after ingesting too much plastic while swimming in the oceans. And mountains of imported electronic waste were discovered in several locations after being dumped by private companies that had been licensed to import, process, and recycle it. These companies were shut down after the discoveries.

In Thailand, the government and leading Thai corporations have been promoting the adoption of the circular economy, which emphasizes the careful use of resources and recycling of waste.

Under the new ban, violators could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to five times the value of the imported waste.

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