EARTH Thailand

IEAT orders inspection of waste factories

Bangkok Post 23 June 2018

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has ordered all industrial estates to examine operators in their jurisdictions in order to bust those unlawfully bringing in electronic waste.

The order came after authorities inspected 148 electronic waste recycling factories late last month and found several of them imported and processed e-waste unlawfully.

IEAT acting governor Attapon Jirawatjanya said yesterday that IEAT's industrial estates are home to operators handling waste segregation and those recycling factory waste.

There are eight operators dealing with waste segregation and another 32 plants recycling electronic waste in 13 industrial estates across the country, he said.

The IEAT found that e-waste had been illegally brought into Viro Green (Thailand) Co in Lat Krabang Industrial Estate and the operator was ordered to make improvements and follow through on regulations, Mr Attapon said.

The firm was also ordered to remove e-waste by a stipulated time frame. The company was found to have illegally distributed the waste to other companies and its e-waste import licence, granted by the Department of Industrial Works, was suspended for a year, Mr Attapon noted.

Mr Attapon said he has ordered all industrial estates to check factories in their jurisdictions and examine their licences to determine whether they are running their business in line with their granted licenses.

The industrial estates must carry out meticulous checks every three months, he said, noting that in the case there is any suspicion of irregularities, directors of the estates must carry out a swift examination.

They also need to find out whether each factory complies with conditions of land use as well as examine abandoned or old plants to determine whether they are secretly being used in the wrong purpose, he said.

Regarding other state agencies who want to inspect factories inside the industrial estates, they must allow IEAT officials to join their operations, he said.

Mr Attapon said all industrial estates are required to update their operations every week, particularly information about e-waste related plants and deserted factories.

If e-waste is found to have been smuggled into their facilities, it must be reported to the IEAT, which will subsequently order the offenders to stop operations and find ways to right the wrong within seven days, he said.

If the companies still fail to comply, they will be ordered close.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta said a Section 44 order is being proposed to solve problems in relation to e-waste since there are legal flaws which could impede enforcement from related authorities.

The prospect of the order will become clear next week, he said, adding that no state officials were found to have assisted the offenders.

Pol Gen Wirachai said national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda has set up a panel in coordination with the Customs Department and Industry Ministry to expedite probes into these cases.

Most of the operators who unlawfully import e-waste are foreign investors with Thai people serving as their nominees, which makes it difficult to catch offenders, he said.

Out of seven companies licenced to import e-waste, five have been found to be involved in the wrongdoing.

These five companies, permitted to shift 100,000 tonnes of e-waste, imported as much as 500,000 tonnes, he said.