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Cambodia is to return plastic waste to the US and Canada



Cambodian officials announced Wednesday that they are returning 1,600 tons of trash to their source – the US and Canada. [TS] Today, Sihanoukville's southwestern main port found a total of 83 shipping containers of plastic waste, said Neth Pheaktra, Secretary of State and spokesman for the Department of the Environment.

The containers opened by customs and excise authorities have been labeled as "recyclable products" without plastic waste labels, Pheaktra said.

The Customs Department is currently investigating how the containers landed in Cambodia and which companies or groups are behind the import. If they were discovered, they would be fined and brought to justice, Pheaktra said. In the meantime, the federal government will start sending the waste back to the US and Canada.

"Cambodia is not a trashcan where foreigners can dispose of out-of-date electronic waste, and the government is also importing plastic waste and lubricants that are to be recycled in that country," Pheaktra said.

This is just the latest incident in a global landfill crisis in which electronic waste, plastic and other waste from predominantly western countries are shipped to the southeast Asia.

  Cambodia sends 1[ads1],600 tons of garbage back to the US and Canada.
In response, governments are trying to stop and curb the ingress of garbage. Earlier this year, the Philippines and Canada had a lengthy diplomatic battle with imported garbage, which became so fierce that Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his ambassador to Ottawa before Canada agreed to take back 2,450 tonnes of garbage in May.
  Environmental activists in Manila on September 9, 2015 call for garbage to Canada.

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Also in May, Malaysia returned 450 tonnes of plastic waste to its countries of origin, including the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan and the Netherlands Others have joined efforts to stem the crisis. The governments of 187 countries agreed in May to control shipments of plastic waste across borders by adding plastic to the Basel Convention, an international regulatory agreement.

The move was "a welcome step in addressing this imbalance and restoring a measure of accountability to the global waste management system," said the World Wildlife Fund.


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