Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Cambodia to Return 1,700 Tons of Plastic Waste to U.S., Canada

Popular
A boy walks past a plastic-choked canal in in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Jan. 17, 2019. TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP / Getty Images

Cambodia is the latest Asian country to reject the wealthy world's plastic waste.


Government officials said Wednesday that they would send 1,600 tonnes (approximately 1,764 tons) of waste back to the U.S. and Canada after the trash was discovered in 83 containers Tuesday in the country's port of Sihanoukville, CNN reported.

"Cambodia is not a dustbin where foreign countries can dispose of out-of-date e-waste, and the government also opposes any import of plastic waste and lubricants to be recycled in this country," said Neth Pheaktra, secretary of state and spokesman of the Ministry of Environment, as CNN reported.

In addition to returning the waste, Cambodia is also investigating how the containers, which were misleadingly labeled as "recyclable products," ended up there in the first place. The companies behind the shipment could face fines if found out.

Seventy of the containers came from the U.S. and 13 from Canada, Pheaktra said, as The Guardian reported.

Social media users also reacted to the delivery, The Guardian reported. Transparency International Cambodia's Executive Director Preap Kol called it a "serious insult" in a Facebook post.

The waste arrived a week after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Cambodia prohibits the import of plastic or other recyclable material.

Cambodia's decision follows similar moves by Asian countries in recent months, who have gotten fed up with the influx of foreign waste after China banned imports in 2018.

Malaysia vowed in May to return 3,300 tons of waste shipped from countries including the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada. The Philippines, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to Ottawa after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to take back tons of rubbish. Canada later agreed to pay for its return by the end of June.

Also in May, more than 180 countries amended the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal to include plastic pollution. The legally binding agreement stipulated that any importing country can choose to accept or decline more plastic. The U.S. was one of the few countries that did not sign the agreement, but it is a major contributor to the problem. A report released in early July found that the U.S. produces more garbage and recycles less of it compared to other developed countries, The Guardian reported. With four percent of the population, it produces 12 percent of the world's municipal solid waste.

Worldwide, around 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic (approximately 9.1 tons) have been produced since the 1950s, and only around nine percent of that has been recycled, according to Greenpeace. As much as 12.7 million tonnes (approximately 14 million tons) ends up in the oceans each year.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less