BANGKOK: Thailand is a new dumping ground for scrap electronics from around the world, say police and environmentalists, the latest country , south of Bangkok, showed on Tuesday seven shipping containers each packed with about 22 tons of discarded electronics, including crushed game consoles, computer boards and bags of scrap materials.
Electronic refuse, or e-waste, is turning up from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, police said, some of it is imported by companies without the required permits.
“While … e-waste” defined as it can be “mined” for valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper, it can include hazardous material such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
Police said they filed charges against three recycling and waste processing companies in Thailand. Anyone found guilty could be jailed for up to 10 years.
“China imposed a ban on overseas trash last year, telling the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it would stop accepting imports on 24 types of foreign waste.
According to estimates in China's state of the media, last year, more than 70% of the world's 500 million tonnes of electronic waste entered China in 2016.
Environmentalists say waste once destined for China is being re-routed to South-East Asia, and new laws are necessary or existing laws better enforced to prevent criminal imports.
“Thailand has become one of the biggest dumping grounds for e-waste,” said Penchom Saetang, director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH).
Thailand ratified in 1997 the Basel Convention, which aims to control transboundary movements of hazardous waste. 19659002] “The Basel Convention can not prevent what is happening in Thailand because it has its limitations,” Penchon said in calling for an amendment that would ban these shipments .
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha vowed this week to step up nationwide inspections as part of a plan to combat illegal electronic waste. But environmentalists say “It is not clear how he will do this,” said Penchom. – Reuters