EARTH Thailand

Factories face waste probe

Bangkok Post 28 May 2018

The Department of Industrial Works (DIW) will inspect seven factories which hold licences to import hazardous substances on suspicion of violating the Hazardous Substance Act and the Basel Convention after several recycling factories were found to be illegally importing and processing electronic waste.

Industry Ministry permanent secretary Pasu Loharjun said the inspection will be carried out by the provincial industrial office together with the local authorities, police, military, provincial offices for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and provincial health offices this week.

"If irregularities are found during the inspection, the factories will be charged with violating the laws," Mr Pasu said.

Meanwhile, the DIW has also issued a letter to 1,761 electronic waste recycling factories nationwide, warning them to strictly follow the Factory Act and the Hazardous Substance Act.

According to Mr Pasu, at least two factories, one in Samut Prakan and another in Samut Songkhram, have been found violating the Factory Act by piling up waste outside their buildings. "Our team has already told them to fix the problem and they will be inspected again this week," he said.

Last week, police and officials from the Industry Ministry launched a crackdown on electronic recycling plants allegedly importing hazardous electronic waste.

Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta said the electronic waste was imported from Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.

Pol Gen Wirachai said the processing can cause harmful substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium to leak which can lead to health problems in humans if they are released into the environment.

Since China banned the import of such materials, a large proportion has been redirected into Thailand.