This document presents IPEN's views about some issues that will be addressed at the 3rd Conference of the Parties for the Mercury Treaty, including open burning, effectiveness evaluation, review of Annexes A & B, waste thresholds, contaminated sites, and more.
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.
(Gothenburg, Sweden): Highly toxic chemicals, posing dire risks to human health, have been found in dangerous concentrations in free-range chicken eggs in Indonesian communities where plastic waste accumulates. Among the alarming findings were high levels of dioxins in eggs collected near an Indonesian factory that burns plastics for fuel. The high dioxin concentrations are similar to levels in eggs collected near the Agent Orange hotspot in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, considered one of the most dioxin-contaminated locations on earth. The study is the first to demonstrate food chain contamination in Southeast Asia with high levels of hazardous chemicals as a consequence of waste mismanagement and plastic waste imports.
This summary of Plastic Waste Poisons Indonesia's Food Chain provides an overview of the alarmingly high levels of dioxins as a result of plastic incineration. These dioxins are poisoning food networks and the environment. The plastics being incinerated are being imported along with waste papers into Indonesia and other countries, and in Tropodo and Bangun are being used to fuel steam generators used to make tofu.
Infographic showing the path of toxics in plastics from production to contamination to consumption at toxic sites studied in Indonesia and many other locations where toxic ash falls or is dumped on the ground.