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Thai e-waste importers lose licenses

June 20, 2018

Five importers of e-waste have had their licenses suspended by Thailand’s Industrial Works Department due to illegal practices.

As the Bangkok Post reports, the suspension of the licenses of the five importers came about after it was revealed that they “allegedly hired illegal factories to recycle more than 14,000 tonnes” of hazardous electronic waste.

These factories have now been ordered to return the waste to the importers within a 30-day period, revealed department chief Mongkul Pruekwatana. The Industrial Works Department will be using GPS to track the transport of the waste and “prevent them from dumping the garbage on the way”, Pruekwatana explained.

The five companies who have had their licenses suspended have been named as Viro Green (Thailand) Co, OGI Co, JPS Metal Group International Ltd, Yong Tang Thai Co and SS Import Export International Co. 

Pruekwatana went on to say that his department would also be investigating 148 other e-waste recycling facilities “to check whether their operations are in line with local laws.” These facilities are situated in the four provinces of Samut Prakan, Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom and Chachoengsao. He added that “his department will consider reviewing the laws on border-crossing e-waste removal to better regulate waste imports destined for Thailand.”

With observers fearing that Thailand could become a dumping ground for e-waste, following China’s recent import ban, police and environmental and industrial officials are wading into the fray in the battle against illegal e-waste recycling activities.

Thus far, a team led by Police General Wirachai Songmetta has raided 17 factories “and charged all of them for engaging in illegal operations.”

These raids follow recent comments made by Jim Puckett, the Director of the Basel Action Network, who expressed the worry that Thailand could become susceptible to “waste tourism”. BAN had released findings which indicated that a number of recycling sites across the country had become “highly polluting” dumping grounds for e-waste.

However, Puckett went on to say that Thailand should be “applauded” for its “proactive” response.



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