"We are not your garbage can" Just as they did Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, the Cambodian government says no to imports of waste from abroad.
In Cambodia's main port, Sihanoukville, authorities found containers full of garbage illegally transported from North America.
Some 1,600 tons of plastic waste, WEEE and waste illegally arrived at the country's main port, hidden in 83 containers, will be returned to the US and Canada at the end of the investigation.
Neth Pheaktra, spokesperson for the Cambodian Ministry of the Environment, explained that 70 of the containers arriving at the port came from the United States and 13 from Canada:
“Cambodia is not a dumpster where foreign countries can dispose of obsolete e-waste. The Government also opposes any importation of plastic waste and lubricants to be recycled in our country“
Days ago, after a government meeting, the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, reiterated that Cambodia does not want to be the landfill of the richest countries and that it will no longer allow the importation of any type of plastic or other waste.
International tension over waste
In recent months, the tension on international waste traffic has increased: first in China, which since last year has restricted imports of low-quality or difficult-to-recycle waste, then the decision by Indonesia and Malaysia to return thousands to the sender tons of waste illegally shipped from North America, but also from France, Australia and other developed countries.
In a report last April, Greenpeace tried to trace new waste routes after the closure of Chinese ports forced some of the world's largest exporters (such as the United States and Canada) to seek new destinations for their waste. The huge flow of waste transported to countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia has rapidly led to the saturation of disposal capacity, with unavoidable damage to the environment and local populations.
In mid-May, 186 countries around the world ratified new regulations under the Basel Convention on the International Movement of Waste: according to the treaty, exporting countries must obtain the explicit consent of recipient countries in cases where they have the intention to ship non-recyclable, contaminated or dangerous materials.