Stop the West From Turning Thailand Into a Toxic Rubbish Dump

Target: Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior

Goal: Shut down electronic waste recycling plants in Thailand.

Factories in Thailand burn massive amounts of electronic waste every day. This waste is illegally shipped from the west to Thailand and dumped in front of an old factory, after which it is taken to recycling plants where workers extract whatever precious metals they can before burning the rest. The lesser heavy metals in all of the broken computers, TVs, and printers pollute the air, water, and soil.

This is extremely dangerous. These electronic waste recycling plants are the exact opposite of the practice meant to reduce pollution and contamination. The air will quickly become too dangerous to breathe if they continue to burn so much plastic, and the contaminated water and soil harms humans and wildlife alike. Additionally, the factories cannot even burn the waste faster than it is dumped in the country, leading to skyscraper-high levels of broken electronics becoming an eyesore.

Authorities and environmentalists are beginning to fight back against the illegal dumping and these factories, and the United States must aid them in fighting for a cleaner environment. Sign this petition to stop the illegal export of electronic waste into Thailand, and to shut down the dangerous factories.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Thailand is becoming the world’s rubbish dump thanks to the west illegally exporting its electronic waste into the country. The waste is taken to factories where workers conduct dangerous methods of extracting valuable metals while burning the rest, allowing the lesser heavy metals to pollute the air, water, and soil. This is extremely dangerous to all living beings in Thailand, and the never-ending piles of broken electronics are an eyesore.

The United States is heavily responsible for this problem, and we must put a stop to it. We cannot continue to allow the west to dump its electronic waste into Thailand, and we must aid the authorities in shutting down the dangerous factories polluting the country. You must outlaw the illegal export of electronic waste immediately, to ensure a better future for Thailand.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jacopo Werther

Save Marine Life and Reduce Plastic Waste

Target: Dr. Wijam Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand

Goal: Stop mass amounts of mismanaged plastic waste from killing marine animals by minimizing the use of plastic.

A pilot whale that washed ashore in Thailand tragically died after five days in the care of veterinarians, who removed 17 pounds of plastic from the whale’s stomach. They pulled about 80 soaking wet plastic trash bags from inside the whale. Plastic debris is a global problem and is massively dangerous to wildlife—especially marine animals, because so much of this waste ends up in the ocean, where these animals mistake it for food. This is what scientists at the Thailand Department of Marine and Coastal Services say is the likely cause of this pilot whale’s death. As Nick Mallos of the Ocean Conservancy states, “Whether it’s a straw or whether it’s a bottle cap, those items can be eaten by animals, and they pose threats through getting stuck in their digestive tracts. It can tear their stomachs. So these products in their entirety are problematic, but what’s equally, if not even more, concerning is that over time these materials are in the ocean, they begin to break up into smaller and smaller pieces.”

According to a study in the journal Science, Thailand was among the six countries with the most “mismanaged plastic waste” in 2010. In light of the example of this whale’s death—which is one of the hundreds of thousands of marine deaths caused by plastic that go largely unnoticed by humans—many are calling on Thailand’s government to take action to reduce plastic by taxing either producers or consumers. As Enric Sala, a marine ecologist with National Geographic, points out, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean. The problem is so huge, but the solution is easy. We can stop plastic from getting into the ocean, and this has to happen at different levels.” Sign below to demand that Thailand do its part and reduce its plastic waste to save our oceans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Simachaya,

The horrific death of a pilot whale that washed ashore on the beaches of Thailand with 17 pounds of plastic lodged in its stomach is indicative of the massive threat posed to our ocean environments and marine life by plastic waste. This threat cannot continue to go unchecked. According to marine ecologist Enric Sala, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean.” Thailand must do its part to help solve this problem.

A study reported that Thailand was one of the top countries with “mismanaged plastic waste” in the year 2010. This problem is rampant in the Asia-Pacific region in particular, and it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that your country does its part. Now is the time to reduce Thailand’s plastic waste and ensure that it is better managed, by imposing taxes either on companies that produce these plastics or on the consumers who use them. I urge you to protect our environment for future generations, and to save the lives of the innocent creatures being killed by human waste. Please take steps immediately to reduce Thailand’s plastic use and keep our oceans clean.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fabi Fliervoet

End Illegal Importation of Hazardous Waste

Target: Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand

Goal: Crack down on illegal importation of electronic waste from other countries.

Since the Chinese ban on waste importation went into effect, the surrounding countries, especially Thailand, have been under siege by the illegal importation of hazardous electronic waste. Many companies are now taking advantage of China’s initiative to protect its environment by illegally accepting wastes that no longer have an outlet for disposal. This is putting an extreme strain on Thailand’s resources and threatens the health of the environment and Thailand’s citizens.

Electronic waste, or e-waste, comprises nearly any item with an electric cord or battery and contains metallic components that can be separated out and recycled. The waste processing required to do this also exposes workers to the hazardous components of e-waste, which include lead, cadmium, and mercury. Many workers in waste processing plants reportedly have minimal protections from inhaling significant amounts of toxic fumes. Prolonged exposure to these materials can cause cancer and other serious health conditions.

Thai police recently seized many tons of illegally imported e-waste from facilities that were not permitted to import foreign e-waste. Since this e-waste was allegedly imported using a loophole for secondhand appliances, acceptance and processing is essentially unregulated and threatens Thailand’s environment and citizens. This is especially true for employees of waste processors which handle this illicit material.

Thailand has laws in place to limit movement of e-waste across borders, but these are insufficient and at times unenforced. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has pledged increased inspections throughout the country to discover this hazardous material, but this only helps after the material has entered the country. Additional regulations and enforcement need to be in place to prevent its importation. Sign the petition for the prime minister to implement and enforce broader regulations to protect Thai citizens from exposure to hazardous e-waste.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Chan-ocha,

China’s ban on the importation of waste, particularly electronic waste, has opened the doors for increased illegal importation by waste processors in neighboring countries such as Thailand. This puts a strain not only on law enforcement officials to seek out and prosecute offenders, but on human health and the environment as well. The processing of electronic waste in order to recover the recyclable components also exposes the toxic components of electronic waste such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. These are known to cause serious health conditions, including cancer. It is critical to the protection of Thailand’s citizens that these materials be regulated to prevent adverse health impacts to workers and potential contamination if these toxins are leaked into the environment.

Ratification of the Basel Convention to prevent importation of hazardous materials has been insufficient in limiting these materials from entering the country. It is not enough to increase inspections in order to discover the material after it has been imported. Regulated processing of hazardous e-waste is critical to the protection of human health and the environment. Please, expand and enforce regulation of this dangerous material.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fairphone

Punish Tycoon Accused of Killing and Eating Endangered Leopard

Target: Khemchai Chutiwong, Attorney General of Thailand

Goal: Punish tycoon accused of killing and eating leopard in a protected forest.

An endangered leopard was allegedly killed and made into soup by CEO Premchai Karnasuta and his associates while they camped illegally in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. In addition to the unfortunate leopard, at least nine animals were reportedly shot and killed, presumably for sport or for other meals. Karnasuta was arrested, but sources say he has been bribing officials after being released on bail.

There is great concern that Karnasuta will use his money and government connections to buy his way out of facing justice. Many businessmen or wealthy politicians have done so in the past, from bribing the courts to threatening blackmail, at the expense of their victims. Furthermore, the leopard he reportedly killed and made into a meal was a legally protected and highly endangered species; Karnasuta’s alleged actions have set the species back further in efforts to repopulate.

An elderly couple was once sentenced to 15 years in jail for merely picking mushrooms in Thungyai Naresuan. If there is any justice in this world, Karnasuta must be tried under the same laws. This leopard and her companions’ deaths must not be in vain. Sign this petition to ensure justice is served for Karnasuta and his associates.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Attorney General Chutiwong,

Wealthy businessman Premchai Karnasuta and his associates allegedly killed nine creatures while camping in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, most notably an endangered leopard who was later made into soup. Karnasuta allegedly bribed officials once released from jail on bail, and there is a serious concern that he will bribe the courts as well in order to escape punishment.

You must not allow this. An elderly couple was once sentenced to 15 years of jail time for merely picking mushrooms in this same forest, and the laws should apply to everyone, not just the working class. Karnasuta must be brought to justice, regardless of his connections or wealth. This leopard’s death must not be in vain, and this man must serve as an example to anyone else who may try such a stunt in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tambako The Jaguar