On 29 October 2020, Dialogue Forum 7: Thailand’s Hazardous Waste Situation & Efforts to Clear the “World’s Trash Bin” was held by Bangkok Tribune News Agency in collaboration with SEA Junction; Thai Society of Environmental Journalists; and Project SEVANA South-East Asia, with the support of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Thailand Office).
In recent years, developments both inside and outside the country have prompted the country’s hazardous waste management to increasingly shoulder the burden as the waste has surged and scattered in a number of areas, especially where is designated as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor, the government’s grand industrial plan to gear the country towards the modern development of Thailand 4.0.
Recycling factories and landfills in Thailand have expanded from hundreds to thousands accordingly to take contaminated equipment imported and waste, whereas rules and regulations in place are too weak to cope with such an expansion, not yet to mention a number of existing factories which have already caused the environmental problems that are still unresolved. The government’s economic development policies, meanwhile, have apparently exacerbated the situation as more and more economic activities are being promoted beyond the waste management capacity. At the same time, some of the state regulations have been loosened to facilitate such development, which in turn have undermined waste management further.
The forum discussed how Thailand can escape from the impacts of untidy hazardous waste management and contamination which is critically harmful to public health and the environment, and how it can elude the dubbed world’s trash bin. The sustainable path for the country’s hazardous waste management in this challenging time was also explored during the forum.