Industry ministry orders suspension of plastic waste recycling plants

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Ministry of Industry and Commerce will no longer issue operating licences to manufacturing plants that use plastic waste as a raw material, as part of efforts to improve standards in the processing industry.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Ms Khemmani Pholsena signed a ministerial order on July 30 authorising industry officials nationwide to temporally freeze the issuing of business operation licences to these manufacturing plants.

This ministerial decision will not affect the operations of those plants that have already received permission to carry out this type of business and they may continue to operate as normal.

But plants that cause environmental damage must be ready for inspection by industry officials. Factories that harm the environment will receive a warning and be advised to improve their manufacturing processes.

Businesses that fail to improve their processing methods in line with industry standards will be ordered to close, according to the ministerial order, which is seen as an attempt by the ministry to protect the environment and improve the operations of plastic waste recycling plants.

The ministerial order, which is posted on the Lao National Gazette, does not say when the ministry will resume the issuing  of operating licences to enterprises whose manufacturing plants use plastic waste as a raw material.

One of the key messages contained in the order is that businesses that already have a registration certificate, tax ID, investment permission and factory construction permission, can continue to build a manufacturing plant but cannot go into production until receiving permission to operate.

Companies that have received investment permission but have not yet been authorised to build a factory are advised to suspend their operations until a new notice is issued, according to the order.

Manufacturing plants that do not have the proper legal documents are advised to stop their operations immediately, the order states.

The industry minister suspended the issuing of operating licences to these plants amid concerns over their impact on the environment and the sustainability of their operations.

The government has adopted the National Green Growth Strategy, which highlights the need to protect the environment. In this regard, manufacturing plants that are deemed to produce pollution will be discouraged from operating.

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