Thailand to Ban Electronic Waste

Thailand will stop accepting electronic and plastic waste within six months to alleviate the country’s environmental problems, an official said.

“We need to prioritize good environment and the health of our citizens over industrial development,” said Environment Minister Surasak Kanchanarat on Thursday. The ban, which sought to stop the imports of over 400 types of electronic waste, comes after Thai media reported on the significant amount of foreign e-waste being shipped to Thailand from the US, the EU, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

“We need to ensure that domestic and plastic wastes will be used as material by the recycling industry first, before we import these materials from outside the country,” said Surasak.

The Thai government also said plastic ban and improvement of waste management infrastructures are a priority.

Thailand is one of the Southeast Asian nations to introduce such initiative after China, the world’s top trash importer, implemented a stricter waste import policy. A few weeks ago, Vietnam announced a ban on new licences for trash imports and a crackdown on illegal shipments of plastic, paper and metal. On Wednesday, Vietnam’s central bank said financial institutions must have plans for environmental risk management by 2025.