The import of plastic waste to Thailand has finally been banned, according to an update on regulations from the Industrial Works Department.
The Industrial Works Department director-general Mongkol Pruekwatana made the announcement in the Government Gazette on Tuesday, stating that the previous plastic scraps import allowance for recycling has been revoked and from now on importing plastic scraps of any kind into Thailand is prohibited.
In the official announcement, the Industrial Works Department cited the need for proper environmental protection of the country as a reason for this regulation change, which forbids the transport of any kind of plastic scraps, whether used or not, to the kingdom.
The ban forms part of the government’s solutions for tackling the problem of contaminated plastic waste and hazardous waste smuggling, which stemmed from a failure to regulate the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.
The Industrial Works Department had allowed the import of plastic scraps in 2008 to support the waste recycling industry in the country, and operators of plastic waste recycling plants have been importing the raw materials ever since.
A variety of measures had to be followed in order to bring in unused plastic. The importers needed permission from the relevant agencies first; the plastic had to be whole, not shredded, and the total amount of plastic had to be declared after the cargo arrived at the destination.
However, earlier this year, it was disclosed that many recycling plants operators were taking advantage of legal loopholes in the regulations dealing with plastic scraps and electronic parts imports to smuggle contaminated plastic waste and other hazardous waste into the country, leading to environmental problems.