Asian countries turning back wealthy world’s waste


Several Southeast Asian countries, sick of being the wealthy world’s rubbish dump, have in recent weeks turned back container-loads of waste from foreign shores, the AFP reported yesterday.

It comes after China last year stopped accepting the world’s used plastic, having previously been the biggest market for recyclables.

Indonesia on Tuesday announced it had sent back illegally imported garbage from France and Hong Kong.

On January 1, 2018, China closed its doors to almost all foreign plastic waste, as well as many other recyclables, in a push to protect its environment and air quality.

In late May, Malaysia said 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste would be shipped back to where it came from – Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

Although Malaysia does allow the import of homogenous and clean waste plastics for the recycling industry.

Meanwhile, in late June, the Philippines returned to Canada tonnes of rubbish held in 69 containers that had been in the Asian country for six years.

It put an end to a row dating back to 2013 and 2014 when a Canadian company shipped containers mislabelled as recyclable plastics to the Philippines.

In July, Cambodia said it would send back to the United States and Canada 1,600 tonnes of illegal plastic waste found in shipping containers.

Also in July, Sri Lankan Customs ordered the return to Britain of 111 containers abandoned in Colombo Port for nearly two years and found to be holding hazardous mortuary and clinical waste, possibly including human organs.

The containers, discovered after they emanated a huge stink, were illegally imported from Britain under the cover of metal recycling.

Of 241 dodgy containers imported since 2017, 130 had been taken to a free-trade zone near the port where they have contaminated the water and air.