Cleaning house: Indonesia returns yet more ‘contaminated’ Aussie garbage

© AFP / Andaru / Free

Indonesia just shipped tons of ‘recyclable’ garbage back to Australia, because the rubbish included hazardous material and household trash, as the Southeast Asian region continues to pushback against Western waste.

An official with the local customs agency said on Tuesday that eight containers of waste, weighing about 210 tons, were placed on a cargo ship bound for Singapore Monday. It’s not known when the containers will arrive back in Australia. 

Last week Australia pledged to stop sending its recyclable waste to the region “as soon as is practicable,” amid growing tensions and concerns over plastic polluting the oceans. This return-to-sender move marks the latest pushback from Southeast Asian nations, who have expressed their frustration with becoming a literal dumping ground for foreign rubbish. 

Last month Indonesia returned seven shipping containers of illegally imported waste back to France and Hong Kong. While Cambodia announced that it will be returning 83 containers loaded with plastic to the United States and Canada, and Malaysia sent 450 tons of imported waste back to Western countries in May. 

Authorities at the Batam Island shipyard are also preparing to return another 42 containers of waste to the United States, Germany and Australia. Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have been landed with huge quantities of foreign waste since China stop accepting the world’s plastic in a bid to clean up its environment.

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