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A Toxics-Free Future

Southeast Asia

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/world/asia/indonesia-tofu-dioxin-plas...

Plastic waste from America, collected for recycling, is shipped to Indonesia. Some is burned as fuel by tofu makers, producing deadly chemicals and contaminating food.

By Richard Paddock

TROPODO, Indonesia — Black smoke billows from smokestacks towering above the village. The smell of burning plastic fills the air. Patches of black ash cover the ground. It’s another day of making tofu.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50392807

The burning of plastic waste in Indonesia, much of which has been sent there by the West, is poisoning the food chain, the BBC has learned.

Environmental group IPEN found, in one East Java village, toxic dioxins in chicken eggs 70 times the level allowed by European safety standards.

Long-term exposure to the chemicals is linked to cancer, damage to the immune system and developmental issues.

A small mine on Sumbawa. Miners often dig for ore on land without permission or government permits. Credit...Adam Dean for The New York Times

New York Times - Hidden Cost of Gold

By

CIDAHU, Indonesia — Thousands of children with crippling birth defects. Half a million people poisoned. A toxic chemical found in the food supply. Accusations of a government cover-up and police officers on the take.

This is the legacy of Indonesia’s mercury trade, a business intertwined with the lucrative and illegal production of gold.

Groups vow to keep up the pressure against dumping of foreign wastes in PH

Quezon City.  As the authorities grapple with the repacking of over 5,000 tons of illegal waste cargoes stranded in Misamis Oriental for re-export to South Korea, environmental health and justice groups vow to keep up the pressure to prevent the recurrence of foreign waste dumping via the country’s seaports.

https://tinyurl.com/yxorwfj4

A movement bidding good riddance to bad trash is growing across South East Asia, and it should spark an international reckoning with how we have been dealing with plastic waste, recycling, and responsibility.

China closed its doors in 2018 to nearly a million tons of mixed plastic waste shipments, and with it, the inevitable toxic pollution to land, air, and groundwater that comes with plastic waste. All plastics contain toxic additives, many of which have negative health impacts. In the wake of China’s decision, the developed waste exporting nations set their plastic recycling on course to other South East Asian countries that were soon overwhelmed by the massive trashing.

In May, world governments gave developing countries a tool to resist the deluge of plastic mixed waste shipments through the UN Basel Convention. The US is not a signatory to the treaty, yet attempted to block the decision. The US obstruction failed, and 184 of the world’s governments created new regulations that require waste exporting countries to declare the content of mixed waste shipments and enables receiving countries to refuse plastic waste imports.

(Environmental Health and Justice Group Urges South Korea to Remove Their Remaining Wastes in Mindanao)

Quezon City.  The environmental health and justice group EcoWaste Coalition today pushed the government of South Korea to act on the 5,177 tons of illegal waste exports that continue to languish in Mindanao for over a year now despite repeated assurances from Seoul to take them back “as soon as possible.”

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