Chairing the fifth meeting of the Governance Reform Driving Commission, in the place of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan discussed the issue of illegal electronic waste and the potential threat to citizens and the environment. The matter was made both an urgent and regular agenda for the meeting.
The three urgent agendas to do with the issue were a ban on further imports by facilities found to be violating regulations set out by the Basel Convention, returning falsely declared waste to origin countries along with taking legal action against culprits and returning waste forwarded to unauthorized facilities to their original processing factories, while also taking legal action against wrongdoers.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich, revealed after the meeting that the commission established a committee, headed by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and including representatives from the ministries of interior and industry, departments of pollution control, customs, police and the Internal Security Operations Command. The committee is urgently to consider legal changes that would bar the import of electronic waste. Gen Prawit noted that, if no conclusion can be found, the government may use Article 44 to speed up the process.
Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda explained that local administrators must be better informed about laws to do with electronic waste and must integrate efforts on the problem with other relevant agencies as officials could be opening themselves up to repercussions if they were to act against organizations without legal grounding.
A probe has found that up to 90 percent of the nation’s 148 waste separation plants are not following regulations for the process. Of the seven plants handling electronic waste, five had violated rules. The remaining two are both operated by Chinese owners.