AIS E-waste

Electronic waste that has been left, Thai recycling operators and a new beginning full of hope

“Where does this phone have to be discarded?”

It is a sad fact that this question still exists for many people in the modern world. And it’s even more sad, most Thai people don’t even ask this question. It is not because they know where to discard it away, but because they don’t even care about who will handle this phone after it became garbage.

Ignorance, unawareness along with this carelessness, cause most people to throw away electronic waste by choosing to discard from the bin that they like, not a true bin, although many people are trying to find knowledge and understanding. But in the end, they tend to discard it in the hope that someone will handle it. As a result, the destination of E-Waste in Thailand is often inevitable with the household waste.

Landfill and incineration are the most dangerous management methods

After the e-waste in each community was dumped into the household waste. It will be collected by Municipality of Bangkok. The disposal method will be either dumping to landfill or sent to the waste incineration plant. Dumping to landfill may cause toxic leakage and also residues in both surface water sources and groundwater sources, contaminating the ecological environment and food chain. The smoke from incineration will cause toxic fumes that affect air quality and ecology both in the short and long term.  As such, handling e-waste with landfill and incineration are causing problems to environment, communities, and health in the end.

Thai entrepreneurs who cannot thoroughly manage the electronic waste.

However, another part of the E-Waste is collected and recalled by the manufacturer or recycling operator. We can divide the business operators that manage electronic waste management into two major groups. One is producers who have recycling processes and can manage their own electronic waste. Another is companies that specifically do recycling  businesses by both Thai and foreign entrepreneurs jointing the venture. However, some foreign operators that have entered the recycling business in Thailand do not have implement a full-scale recycling plant.

Based on data from the Pollution Control Department in 2012, Thailand has 22 businesses dealing with the management of electronic waste, mainly in the central and eastern regions. There is only one plant in the north and the south. In the northeast, there are no recycling plants that handle e-waste. Since recycling factories are not covered nationwide, the e-waste separation, treatment and disposal are not seen as a serious issue due to the high cost of transportation, etc.

 

Good management must have no discarded part.

In the correct process, these operators will fix the broken products for reusing.  Expired products will be sorted, classified and disassembled for delivery to processing plants both domestic and abroad in order to be processed into raw materials for reforming in the production process again. The debris that is not useful will be handled through the recycling process. There will be E-Waste parts that are discarded or polluted to environment and ecosystem. As such, the correct process is proceeded, the amount of e-waste must be decreasing

But in Thailand, the amount of E-Waste every year is increasing dramatically, because the system for dismantling is not good enough. Therefore, today products which will be e-waste in the future will not be recycling or reusing.

According to the Pollution Control Department statistics, every year, the volume of e-waste in Thailand was increasing continuously from 357,000 tons in 2012, up to 384,233 tons in 2015. In 2016, mobile phone were found the most, 10.9 million units, followed by portable video or audio devices, 3.57 million units. As a result, in 2021, 13.42 million mobile phones and 3.65 portable video or audio devices million units are expected to be found. If this continues, within 5-10 years, Thailand will face a crisis of electronic waste from both domestic and imported consumption.


Good starting point, makes Thai people still have hope

The good news is many involved government agencies started to work on the determination of the management guidelines for disposing electrical and electronic products in Thailand, such as providing knowledge and creating campaign to raise awareness about the danger of e-waste. This good intention also include the establishment of integrated electronic and electronic product wreck management strategies 2014-2021, which received approval from the Cabinet on 17 March 2015 to use as a comprehensive policy framework for managing waste products and electronics. Which focuses on the development of electrical appliances and electronic products to meet international environmental standards which is a good starting point.

However, the most important thing is not the knowledge of how to manage E-Waste, but it is to make everyone understand that this management is not necessary to wait for someone to help. We must do it by ourselves because the best management is to stop thinking, adjusting our behavior and paying attention to proper disposal bin. So that one day, everyone will be able to use electrical and electronic products happily, and change to the newer model without damaging the health or environment of our future generations.

If every household in Thailand has knowledge, awareness and no carelessness

If Thai people respond very well, where should they discard e-waste that they have

If everyone chooses to discard it in the correct bin, not the pleased bin.

In the end, a small starting point today will become a big turning point that can handle the E-Waste problem in Thailand sustainably.

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