The worlds waste has been piling up on the shores of south-east Asia for more than a year…. but not for much longer.
Containers full of unwanted rubbish from the west have accumulated in the ports of the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam and huge toxic wastelands of plastics imported from Europe and the US have built up across Malaysia.
But nations across south east Asia have had enough of being ‘treated like trash’ and have vowed to send the garbage back to where it came from.
The Guardian reports:
Last week the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Canada if the government did not agree to take back 69 containers containing 1,500 tonnes of waste that had been exported to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.
Canada had refused to even acknowledge the issue for years but as the dispute escalated, Duterte declared that if the government did not act quickly, the Philippines would tow the rubbish to Canadian waters and dump it there.
On 23 April a Malaysian government investigation revealed that waste from the UK, Australia, United States and Germany was pouring into the country illegally, falsely declared as other imports.
Enough was enough, said Yeo Bee Bin, the environment minister. “Malaysia will not be the dumping ground of the world. We will send back [the waste] to the original countries.”
She has been as good as her word. Five containers of illegal rubbish from Spain discovered at a Malaysian port have just been sent back and on Tuesday Yeo announced that 3,000 tonnes of illegally imported plastic waste from the UK, the US, Australia, Japan, France and Canada would be returned imminently.