EARTH Thailand

A Crisis of Waste: A Photo Book on the Situation and Crisis of Waste in Thailand

By Ecological Alert and Recovery - Thailand (EARTH)

Photographs: Karnt Thassanaphak

December 2021

The world is facing a crisis of waste, and Thailand is no exception. Today, this country faces a growing quantity of wastes from various sources, including households/communities and industrial factories. In addition, plastic scraps, electronic scraps and wastes of other sorts are flowing from across the border into recycling factories. These waste importations occur through various avenues from illegal smugglings to exploitation of loopholes in the law. This is not to mention “unregulated wastes” that are processed outside the purview of the state, or illegally dumped in various areas across the country. While this massive array of wastes presents a serious crisis, Thailand’s waste management and disposal system falls short of sanitation standards and good practices. The current solution fail to match the scale of the problem. 

Recycling was supposed to be a solution to the resource scarcity and waste management crisis. Now, in many cases, it stands as a source of pollution. A substantial number of recycling companies have eschewed good practices for cheap methods of waste management. Driven by the desire to save costs and maximize profits, these “dirty recycling” companies failed to account for the environmental impacts of their operations. Such recyclers are effectively polluters, whose profiteering causes extensive and near-irreparable damages to the environment.

Therefore, the ever-increasing quantity of wastes and the ineffective management of those wastes cause extensive impact. They not only affect the environment and health of communities living close to waste dumping sites, but also of the population at large. After all, the contamination of water, soil and air by toxic chemicals are not limited to its original locale. Pollutants can spread far and wide through various environmental agents and the food chain.

Download the book here.