Guwahati, July 10, 2019:

Indonesia recently said that it would send more than 210 tonnes of garbage back to Australia, as South-east Asian nations push back against serving as dumping grounds for foreign trash.

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The Indonesian environment ministry recommended “the items are re-exported”, the agency said in a separate statement on Monday. “This is done to protect the public and Indonesian environment, especially in East Java, from B3 waste,” it added, referring to hazardous and toxic materials.

Reportedly, a spokesman for the East Java customs agency said that the eight containers seized in Surabaya city should have contained only waste paper, but the authorities also found hazardous material and household trash including plastic bottles and packaging, used diapers, electronic waste, and cans.

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Global concern over plastic pollution has been spurred by shocking images of waste-clogged rivers in South-east Asia and accounts of dead sea creatures found with kilos of refuse in their stomachs.

Indonesia announced last week it was sending back 49 containers full of waste to France and other developed nations. In May, neighbouring Malaysia announced it was shipping 450 tonnes of imported plastic waste back to its sources, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), with much of it ending up in landfills or polluting the South-East Asia seas, in what has become a growing international crisis.

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