Thailand has announced plans to ban imports of plastic waste from next year
The announcement comes after government officials had previously announced plans to ban the import of plastic waste from 2021. But now Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has said it will propose to the cabinet a total ban on the import of plastic waste into the country beginning next year.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat said that with imports of plastic waste due to be outlawed, Thailand will also increase its efforts of recycling plastic waste generated locally. Gen Surasak said that recycling of local plastic waste will be increased by as much as 100 per cent over the next ten years. He said this will be achieved by strict new measures that will require locally produced plastic such as bottles and food packaging to contain a certain amount of recycled plastic. Currently, more than 2 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Thailand annually with only about half a million tonnes being recycled. The news comes after Thailand last year banned the import of electronic waste such as old electronic circuit boards, televisions and radio parts after it was revealed that Southeast Asian nations, including Thailand, were becoming a dumping ground for the world’s trash.
The e-waste was once destined for China, who have since banned the practice. But now environmentalists say the waste was then being re-routed to Southeast Asia, to countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Thailand’s government has said improving the country’s waste management infrastructure is a priority and will set goals over the next two years. They included cutting the use of plastic bags and bottles in government agencies and businesses, and plastic bans in tourist destinations. A tax on plastic bags has also been mentioned, along with a target to recycle up to 60 percent of plastic by 2021.