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New law in Thailand risks drawing an avalanche of plastic waste

Junta-era rules are business-friendly, but greens object to lax monitoring

A recycling plant near Bangkok: According to Greenpeace, Thailand's plastic waste imports jumped nearly sevenfold between 2016 and 2018 to 481,000 tons.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thai environmentalists are pressing Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to slow the enactment of a law they say could create a loophole in monitoring pollution and result in Thailand importing more plastic waste from abroad.

The law amends the 1992 Factory Act and is set to take effect in October. The amendment was approved in late February by the National Legislative Assembly, the then military-government's rubber-stamp parliament, to create a business-friendly environment, according to the government. It was one of many laws the outgoing military junta rushed through parliament before a contentious general election in late March.

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