Indonesia says it won’t become yet another world “dumping ground” for the Western world, after it returned five containers of waste back to the USA, joining the growing number of Asian nations to recently turn away Western so-called ‘recyclables.’

The containers were filled with “significant amounts” of various plastic waste and shoes, in addition to other rubbish such as wood scraps, fabrics and even diapers. 

The waste arrived in Indonesia from Seattle. The cargo, shipped by a Canadian company, was supposed to contain paper recycling material, but the authorities discovered multiple “impurities” inside five containers and ordered them to be “re-exported.

Although the containers were originally from Canada, the country of departure was the USA, said Waste and Hazardous Waste Management Directorate General Secretary Sayid Muhadhar.

Indonesia, which has a very limited capacity to recycle even its own plastic, has a decree banning the importation of consumer plastic waste. Production waste in the form of clean paper and plastic scraps can still enter the country, if the Trade Ministry grants an import license.

The top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste

Almost 95% of plastic in oceans come from just ten Asian and African rivers, as Western garbage is dumped @ those nations. 

Any trash that enters the country illegally will immediately be sent back, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar warned earlier this month, stressing that the government will investigate any reported malpractices and violations.

Indonesia previously returned dozens of containers filled with illegal plastic in 2015 and 2016.  The country broke its decade-old record and imported a total of 283,000 tons of plastic last year, the National Statistics Agency showed.

The huge 141% increase followed China’s January 2018 decision to stop accepting plastic waste from the rest of the world due to environmental concerns. In the past, China processed over half of the world’s trash.

Beijing’s ban forced Western corporations, which lack their own waste recycling capacities, to seek new ‘markets’ in Asia.

The situation worsened even further when India followed China’s example and banned the importation of solid plastic waste.


As a result, tons of trash from the USA, Europe and Australia ended up going to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, forcing these countries to seek countermeasures to protect their environment.

Vietnam placed a moratorium on granting new import licenses, while Thailand issued a ban on imports. In the meantime, Malaysia and the Philippines have both recently sent back mountains of poisonous trash to their original destinations.

RT. com / ABC Flash Point Waste Management News 2019.

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