The next door was closed for the West, which was hoping to get rid of garbage overseas. Maybe it’s time to find another model?
A little more than a year has passed since China banned the import of foreign plastic waste, and now India has followed in its footsteps. Since March 1, all imports of foreign solid plastic waste and scrap have been banned. This step aims to “narrow the gap between waste generation and recycling capabilities” and help the country achieve the goal of phasing out all disposable plastics by 2020. India produces about 26,000 tons of plastic waste every day, and about 40 percent of them remain uncollected due to the lack of processing capacity, so it’s not surprising that the country is looking for a way out.
Previously, some bans have already been introduced restricting the import of plastic by companies in special economic zones (SEZ). At the same time, some enterprises were allowed to purchase resources from abroad. But, according to The Economic Times, “many companies have abused the provision of partial bans under the pretext of being in the SEZ.”
India began to take more plastic after the ban of China, but now the problem of importing garbage will move to other, less regulated countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. They all experienced a sharp increase in plastics imports last year. The Independent said that Malaysia now receives three times as much rubbish as before, Vietnam’s imports have increased by 50 percent, and the amount of rubbish in Thailand has increased fifty times.
“After China announced that it would no longer take“ foreign garbage, ”Environment Minister Michael Gov said the UK should“ stop taking our dirt out of control ”and deal with its plastic waste at home. But at the time, India was named one of the destinations for plastic trash as a “short-term” alternative direction. ”
Obviously, the application of this short-term solution has come to an end — and Western countries, which are used to transporting their waste to remote corners of the Earth, will be closer to fighting the detritus of their own lives. At present, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand seem satisfied that they continue to receive waste (although this position is mostly official and disputed by angry citizens whose health and well-being suffer from increased pollution), but not for long.
I believe that the United States, Canada and Europe will not rethink ways of packaging and consumption as long as there is an opportunity to send garbage to places where it will not remind of itself. As soon as we are forced to live with our garbage and find innovative ways to reuse and recycle it, this ridiculously unsustainable cycle of using and dumping garbage in more poorly regulated countries will end.