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Indonesia Returns Shipping Containers of Waste to US, EU, Australia

Indonesia Returns Shipping Containers of Waste to US, EU, Australia
(Photo Credit: Erik Odiin, Unsplash)

Authorities in Indonesia plan to return dozens of waste filled shipping containers to the countries that sent them including the United States, Australia, France, and Hong Kong. The contents violate Indonesian import rules, customs officials told reporters.

Customs officials on Batam Island in Indonesia told AFP that there were 49 containers filled with garbage, plastic waste, and hazardous materials from the United States, Australia, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. Journalists from the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 65 shipping containers of international waste are currently impounded at Batam’s Batu Ampar port. One of them is from Australia, they learned.

Today the journalists said they found paperwork showing that an Australian company had exported the container with the intention for it to go to the Indonesian recycling firm Royal Citra Bersama.

“The document shows the container was sent by Visy, one of the world’s biggest recycling companies, inspected in Melbourne on May 21, 2019, marked as ‘non-B3’ mixed plastic scrap — that is, non-toxic waste,” they wrote. “It was shipped to the Batu Ampar port in Batam where customs officials opened it and found it stinking and leaking black sludge with visible maggots.”

Last month, Indonesia’s environmental ministry returned Canadian paper waste that had been imported via the United States, saying it had been contaminated with plastic, diapers, and other materials, Reuters reported. An environment ministry official told Reuters that five containers with around 100 metric tons of waste had been sent back to Seattle from the Indonesian port city Surabaya.

Indonesia is the latest country to reject trash following the Chinese ban on accepting international waste. In June, the Philippines began sending the first of 69 shipping containers with contaminated trash back to Canada. Before that, Malaysian officials returned 450 metric tons of mislabeled plastic and non-recyclable waste to the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Saudi Arabia, and others in late May.

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