One Developed Country’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.
In some parts of the world plastic is not the enemy of man. The “evil” substance is saving many industries in Southeast Asia. In 2017 China’s waste restrictions allowed for other parts of Southeast Asia to step in taking their place in taking in the plastic waste of first world countries. Why would people invite the waste of the US, Japan, Britain, and Russia? Because to them, plastic is “just like any other commodity — like copper, steel, metal, wood and paper.” If processed the right way plastic can be used in high end manufacturing or even used instead of fossil fuels in the creation of cement.
But not everyone is enjoying the new large shipments of plastic garbage coming into the country. And why should they be? Malaysia is quite literally taking in other countries pollution. In response to complaints Southeast Asian governments created waste import restrictions. Restrictions do not help the problem though. Legal manufacturers and processors of plastic now miss out on many opportunities because shipments of plastic are being sent back to the countries they came from.
In order to satisfy both the manufacturers and the Southeast Asian governments, changes must be made. The governments want the manufacturers to become more environmentally friendly and the manufacturers want more licenses to practice their trade and more shipments of plastic. The solution is for the manufacturers to alter their plants to be up to certain standards. One of the first countries to show that it will work with the plastic manufacturers is Vietnam. Vietnam promises that it will provide the license necessary for manufactures to operate as long as they bring operations up to speed with international environmental standards.
Ives, M. (2019, June 7). Recyclers Cringe as Southeast Asia Says It’s Sick of the West’s Trash. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/world/asia/asia-trash.html.