Indonesian environmentalists accuse Australia of ‘smuggling’ plastic waste following China ban
30th April 2019

Original story

Indonesian environmentalists are calling on Australia to tighten its regulation and enforcement of waste exports to foreign countries, claiming it is effectively “smuggling”huge amounts of plastic and waste paper supposedly sent for recycling.

Key points:

  • Since a Chinese ban on foreign waste imports Australian exports to Indonesia have increased
  • Activists accuse Australian companies of slipping tons of plastic waste into paper bales
  • Department of Environment says the issue is the responsibility of Indonesian authorities

waste import ban imposed by China in July 2017 has seen Australia instead export waste materials to nearer neighbours, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Millions of kilograms of Australia’s waste has ended up in Indonesia’s East Java province. During 2018, imports of waste materials to East Java from Australia reached 52,000 tonnes, a 250 per cent increase from 2014.

Local environmental activist group Ecoton claims that plastic among the waste paper bales imported from Australia is routinely burned or dumped into the Brantas River, where fish ingest it.

If Landfill-biodegradable plastic was used Australia could landfill it here and the plastic would be gone in approx 5-15 years depending on its thickness and landfill conditions.  We should not be sending our waste for other countries to suffer appalling conditions to sort it.   We made the waste we should deal with it.

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