Indonesia is sending dozens of containers of waste back to Western nations after finding them contaminated with used diapers, plastics and other materials, adding to a growing backlash in Southeast Asia against being a dumping ground for the developed world's rubbish.
The Directorate General of Customs said yesterday that 49 containers at the Port of Batam near Singapore will be returned to Australia, the U.S., France, Germany and Hong Kong.
More plastic trash from industrialized countries has found its way to Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries after China last year stopped importing waste from abroad to curb pollution. But countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are now saying that they do not want to be dumping grounds for trash. In May, neighboring Malaysia announced it was shipping 450 tons of imported plastic waste back to its sources, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The Philippines, meanwhile, returned about 69 containers of rubbish back to Canada last month, putting an end to a diplomatic row between the two countries. Global concern over plastic pollution has been spurred by shocking images of waste-clogged rivers in Southeast Asia and accounts of dead sea creatures found with kilos of refuse in their stomachs.