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Thailand temporarily bans e-waste imports

July 4, 2018

The South-East Asian nation has made headlines in recent weeks due to fears of indiscriminate e-waste dumping. Now, Thailand has issued a temporary ban on plastic and e-waste imports.

Following warnings from BAN and the news, released last month, that five e-waste importers had lost their licenses following police raids, Resource reveals that Thailand is now instituting a temporary ban on plastic and e-waste imports.

This crackdown comes in response to concerns about the ever-increasing amounts of e-e-waste being dumped in Thailand and other Asian nations following China’s own ‘Blue Sky 2018’ ban. So far this year, Thailand has already imported “37,000 tonnes of e-waste” in addition to 120,000 tonnes of plastic waste.

With illegal factories improperly disposing of the waste, local residents have voiced concern “about dangerous chemicals leaching into the environment.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Wirachai Songmetta, Thailand’s deputy police chief, explained: “These factories have been polluting the environment because of all the heavy metals in the e-waste like lead and copper, which can poison the soil and the water. They also burn the plastic, which brings toxic fumes into the air. So it is very dangerous for the Thai people living near these factories.

“We already have too much electronic waste here in Thailand. It is not our burden to bring this pollution from the rest of the world to the next generation of Thai people.”

The country instituted its temporary ban on 25 June 2018, “forcing Thai ports to turn away multiple contains of waste every day” and the Department of Industrial Works is “seeking an indefinite ban in the future”, as well as planning more factory inspections across the country.

Jim Puckett, Director of BAN, has been commenting on Asia’s mounting e-waste woes.

“The developed countries have been dumping their wastes for years on China and finally China has made the calculus that the short-term economic gains from waste trade are far outweighed by the long-term negative environmental and health impacts,” he explained.

“Every country in the Asian region should ratify the Ban Amendment and implement the ban into national law as a matter of urgency. This action will not only protect their own countries from the unsustainable waste trade tsunami, but will help the entire world as well, as it will ensure that the amendment enters into the force of international law.”



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