Apr 27, 2019 04:15 PM EDT
Countries are dealing with more garbage than they could handle. In fact, most industrialized nations send the waste they couldn't recycle to Asian countries that are open to receiving them. Before China made its ban announcement in 2018, it was one of the top importing countries for waste from industrialized countries. Their announcement to stop importation has brought the recycling industry the crisis it has today.
According to the report released by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) on Tuesday, highly industrialized nations have rerouted their garbage dumping to developing countries in Southeast Asia particularly.
"The places that were once serene and clean have now become toxic dumpsites," Von Hernandez said, coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement. "It is the height injustice as the communities from countries with less capacity to fight pollution become the target of these powerful countries to get rid of their own waste," he added.
The study conducted by GAIA was also based from the data collected by the Greenpeace East Asia on the trade of global waste. The list included the most powerful countries of the world like the US, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom as among the top exporters of garbage in countries in the Southeast Asia.
Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia are among the countries in Asia that bore the brunt of waste shipments. Despite the the restrictions that both Thailand and Malaysia have put in place concerning the importation of garbage in mid of 2018, still, the problem continued to exist. Vietnam, on the other hand, also took in imports before they had put in a stronger law on the restrictions in imports.
Sadly, the countries that are at the receiving end of these waste imports are now dealing with a bigger pollution problem than they could possibly handle. Water contamination, respiratory illnesses, and crop deaths have all been caused by the toxic fumes released in the air by the burning of these unwanted plastics. Organized crimes have been linked to illegal recycling operations in these countries, causing more problems for the governments.
Kate Lin of Greenpeace East Asia senior strategist said that the countries who have tightened their policies on waste imports only drives these countries to look for alternative countries in Southeast Asia who have yet to regulate their own policies.
"It is like a predatory system, but it also grown into something inefficient. More powerful countries are dealing with their waste in illegal ways. When there is no transparency in how the country is rid of these waste materials, it only means that the process is simply unacceptable," Lin said.
Perhaps the worst part of the problem is not the dumping of waste in developing countries. Rather, it is about the growing number of plastic wastes despite strong campaigns against them.
"The process of recycling in various countries simply could not keep up with its production," lid added.
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