The Thai government has introduced a five-year waste management masterplan to deal with the evergrowing waste problem in the country.
This new policy requires local administrative organizations to manage waste within the next five years by setting up waste-to-energy plants.
This also means that the private sector is encouraged to invest as they are more able to oversee waste disposal.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Waste-to-energy plants is seen as one of the most polluting methods for both waste management and power generation.
By burning waste, they emit toxic pollutants and leftover ashes that are hazardous and require very careful disposal in a secured landfill.
According to Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand director Penchom Saetang, the move by the Thai government to promote private investments of waste-to-energy projects across the country is seen as a counter-step to dealing with the country’s waste problem.
Many worry that the policy would encourage plastic waste imports from the world as small scale waste-to-energy plants are set up.
Many investors are not prone to the idea of installing expensive pollution control system to protect the environment as this step would be deemed unprofitable to their investment.
Environment wise, waste-to-energy plants are not entirely without its advantages. Building some few energy plants that are properly regulated is one of the acceptable measures to deal with unrecyclable waste. But further steps need to be taken to ensure that the plants are properly equipped with all pollution control measures to protect the environment as well as the people’s health.
So far 44 provinces fit the criteria to initiate private sector investments.