Current Situation of Waste Management in Thailand
In recent years, Thailand has faced challenges of illegal dumping of industrial waste, causing significant harm to both people and the environment. Illegal dumping of industrial waste has led to widespread pollution, contaminating water sources, soil, and the air. This pollution poses serious health risks to nearby communities, resulting in various health issues among residents, including respiratory problems and skin diseases. Furthermore, the illegal dumping of industrial waste has a detrimental impact on the local ecosystem, leading to the loss of biodiversity, disruption of natural habitats, and contamination of aquatic life. This environmental degradation affects not only the immediate vicinity but also communities downstream, leading to long-term ecological imbalances.
Growing in the number of cases lead to analysis of current legal system. The main regulation currently used for industrial waste management is the Ministry of Industry (MOI) Notification on Disposal of Waste or Unused Material B.E. 2548 (2005) and the fact that there are many waste-generating factories and many of them failing to report their waste management data as required by regulations. The MOI Notification of 2005 sought to formulate regulations on the proper management of industrial waste, but there has been a significant challenge in enforcing compliance, particularly in reporting which is not improve such situation. To be more specific, according to the Ministry of Industry, as of 2023, there are 60,638 waste-generating factories nationwide with over 27,000 factories failing to report their information. In response, the MOI, has requested that provincial industrial offices nationwide to emphasize the need for factories to report information on waste or unused materials management through the MOI’s central data reporting system, iSingle Form (https://isingleform.go.th), within the specified timeframe. This action aligns with the government’s policy and the direction of the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior, who place significant importance on environmental matters, including sustainable development and environmental protection. These efforts aim to conserve and restore natural resources, address greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It involves the development of environmental management systems, following the circular economy concept, as well as the improvement of hazardous waste disposal facilities to meet standardized requirements. The management of industrial waste must be strictly regulated and conducted scientifically to prevent industrial waste from escaping into the environment, which can have wide-reaching consequences on communities and the environment.
New Regulations on Waste to Introduce PPP
It is critical to realize the existing need for improving related regulations by bringing new mechanisms. On July 2nd 2023, Mr. Anucha BURAPACHAISRI, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Prime Minister’s Office for Political Affairs who is also acting as the spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, revealed that, following a notification by the MOI regarding the improvement of regulations on management of waste or unused materials early this year, the new Notification was published in a Gazette on May 31, 2023 and will come into effect on November 1st, 2023. However, the responsibilities of the Waste Generator (WG) and the duties of the Waste Processor (WP) have been in effect since June 1, 2023. With this legal amendment, the Department of Industrial Works has fully applied the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP), specifying stricter accountability from the source of waste generation until the waste or unused materials are properly processed. The principle of this new (3rd generation) regulation is different from previous regulation as shown in the table below.
|1st Generation of Industrial Waste Management Regulation||2nd Generation of Industrial Waste Management Regulation||3rd Generation of Industrial Waste Management Regulation|
|Ministry of Industry Notification No.6 B.E. 2540 (1997) (for Non-Hazardous Waste) and Ministry of Industry Notification No.1 B.E. 2541 (1998) (for Hazardous Waste)||Ministry of Industry’s Notification on Disposal of Waste or Unused Material B.E. 2548 (2005) (for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste)||Ministry of Industry’s Notification on Management of Waste Disposal or Unused Material B.E. 2566 (2023) (for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste)|
|Concept taken from US.EPA combined with concept of Thailand’s Hazardous Substance Act.||Concept adapted from EU and California EPA.||Concept adapted from EU and California EPA.|
|Define waste mainly by testing first and listing after.||Define waste mainly by listing first and testing after.||Define waste mainly by listing first and testing after.|
|Liability of a waste generator ends when waste is transported from factory.||Liability of a waste generator ends when waste is taken by waste processor.||Liability of a waste generator ends when waste is managed by waste processor.|
|There are 10 waste processors in 1997.||There are 500 waste processors in 2005.||There are 2,500 waste processors in 2023.|
Director-General of the Department of Industrial Works (DIW), Dr. Julapong TAWEESRI, revealed about this MOI Notification on Management of Waste Disposal or Unused Materials B.E. 2566 (2023) in another separated event that exceptions to this regulation include the requirement to submit annual reports on waste management and monthly reports on raw materials and products management through the MOI’s central data reporting system or iSingle Form (https://isingleform.go.th/home), as announced in the Royal Gazette on May 31, 2023. Failure to report or delayed reporting will incur fines up to 20,000 Baht, which became effective from the Notification date.
Under this MOI Notification, the waste generators (WGs), consisting of 60,638 factories nationwide, are required to submit annual reports on the management of hazardous and non-hazardous waste for a certain fiscal year (January 1st to December 31st) by April 1st of the following year. The data for the fiscal year 2022 is required to be submitted within 30 days from the Notification in the Royal Gazette. This means that the deadline for submission was June 30th, 2023. Reports that have been already submitted by factories using the SOR KOR 3 form for the fiscal year 2022 under the MOI on Management of Waste Disposal or Unused Materials B.E. 2548 (2005) will also be counted as reports submitted under the new Notification.
Waste Processors (WPs), comprising of factories type 101, 105, and 106 totaling 2,500 facilities nationwide, are required to submit monthly reports on raw materials and products management by the 15th of the following month. The first reporting deadline is July 15th, 2023, following the Notification of this new Notification in the Gazette.
Major Amendments under the New Regulations
Other key aspects of the MOI Notification on Management of Waste Disposal or Unused Materials B.E. 2566 (2023) can be summarized below.
- This Notification cancels most previous regulations relating to waste management in factories such as 1) MOI Notification on Criteria and Method for Notification of Waste or Unused Material from Factory by Internet B.E. 2547 (2004); 2) MOI Notification on Disposal of Waste or Unused Material B.E. 2548 (2005); 3) MOI Notification on Disposal of Waste or Unused Material (No.2) B.E. 2560 (2017); and 4) MOI Notification on Disposal of Waste or Unused Material (No.3) B.E. 2566 (2023). Only remaining previous regulation is MOI Notification on Exemption of Permission for Taking Waste or Unused Material Out of Factory Area B.E. 2561 (2018).
- Requirements for WGs are as follows:
- Hazardous and non-hazardous waste or unused materials must be stored separately.
- Containers holding waste or unused materials must be inspected to ensure they are in safe and usable condition. Each container should have a label with at least the following details: the name of the waste generator, the name and code of the type or category of waste or unused material, the start date of storage, and the closure date of the container.
- In cases where storage facilities have been arranged without proper management for waste or unused materials, there must be adequate and suitable space provided. The storage area should be maintained in a clean condition at all times and should have clear signs and markings for safety, such as prohibition signs, warning signs, and mandatory signs, prominently displayed in the area where the waste or unused materials are stored.
- A plan for the storage of waste or unused materials must be made and it should be readily available for inspection by officials.
- In cases where waste or unused materials are managed within the factory premises, they must be handled using appropriate methods, adhering to scientific principles, ensuring safety, and avoiding adverse environmental impacts, as per the criteria, methods, and conditions specified by Department of Industrial Works.
- Transportation of any waste or unused material out of the factory area is prohibited unless having obtained permission via filling using “Kor Orr 1” form and complying with stipulated conditions.
- When reports on waste that has been stored but not been managed, the management of waste or unused materials within the factory premises in the past year must be submitted to the Department of Industrial Works by electronic means through the ministry’s central data reporting system. For reporting in the first quarter of the year 2022, the report must be submitted within thirty days from the day following the Notification in the Gazette.
- WGs shall be responsible for transportation of waste or unused material to waste processor. A waste generator is still responsible until the waste or unused material is managed by waste processor.
- To define the term “management or managed” as “the management of waste or unused materials through methods such as destruction, recycling, reusing, specific burial methods, or other forms of management.”
- Waste or unused material will continue to be grouped by 6-digit code according to its origin as cone under the previous MOI Notification as shown in Appendix 1 and characteristic with hazardous property and methods of testing as shown in Appendix 2. Hazardous waste will be identified according to the concept “listing first and testing after.”
- Request form for transport waste or unused material out of factory area is called “Kor Orr 1” Form shown in the last page of Appendix 2
Director-General of the Department of Industrial Works further added that DIW conducted online training for Waste Processors (WPs) or so-called factory type 101, 105, and 106 from May 30 to June 1st, 2023. A total of 1,020 participants were trained. This aimed to ensure that WPs can accurately submit their reports within the legal deadlines.
“The proper management of waste or unused materials is crucial. It is a fundamental factor supporting the balanced development of the industrial sector, fostering investor confidence, and building trust and credibility among the public nationwide,” the Director-General of the Department of Industrial Works concluded.