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"Cambodia is not a trashcan where foreigners can dispose of out-of-date electronic waste, and the government is also importing plastic waste and lubricants that are to be recycled in that country," Pheaktra said.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