EARTH Thailand

Customs enacts urgent waste smuggling measures

The Nation 05 July 2019

The Customs Department has implemented urgent measures to prevent smuggling of electronic and plastic waste into the country after Bt17.5 million worth of the waste shipments were intercepted, the department chief said.

Customs Department director-general Krissada Jinawicharana said 103 cases of smuggling the undesirable waste were intercepted by his officials during the 2018 to 2019 budget year.

The figures broke down to 89 cases worth Bt14.5 million in the 2018 fiscal year, and 17 cases worth Bt3 million from October 2018 to May 2019, the customs chief added.

He said Thailand had earlier imported hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic and electronic waste each year.

In early 2017, the import quota of plastic waste was reduced to 70,000 tonnes yearly and the imports have been declining because of tight control by the state, he said.

But since the plastic and electronic waste was still needed in the country, smuggling attempts into the Kingdom are continuing, prompting the department to come up with three measures.

First, the department will regularly analyse the situation to narrow targeting of suspected smugglers and would immediately check and investigate suspects.

Also, all customs checkpoints have been ordered to strictly check cargo that may include smuggled electronic and plastic waste.

As well, customs officials will no longer slap fines on smugglers of electronic and plastic waste but instead hand the cases over to police to seek criminal charges.