After China banned foreign garbage, American garbage flooded to this burst warehouse.

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 After China banned foreign garbage, American garbage flooded to this burst warehouse.


Waste paper, beverage bottles, food packaging bags, residual food, discarded clothes and shoes and hats.

So how much garbage will the worlds 7 billion people produce? In the World Banks report Global Solid Waste Management List 2050, a data is given: in 2016, the world produced 2 billion tons of solid waste, that is, an average of 0.74 kilograms of waste per person per day.

But this average is not fair, because some areas are rich in commodities and materials, people have high incomes, and naturally produce more garbage.

According to the World Bank, high-income countries account for only 16% of the worlds population, but they produce 34% of the worlds garbage. In Bermuda, Canada and the United States, each person produces 2.21 kg of garbage a day, compared with only 5% of the worlds garbage in low-income countries, which account for 9% of the worlds population.

Source: World Bank report

On the other hand, 56% of garbage in low-income countries is food residue, while in high-income countries, recyclable garbage such as plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass accounts for 51%.

That is arsenic, honey.

Such differences have contributed to a global waste trade chain, with many developed countries exporting solid waste to developing countries for treatment, recycling and reuse. Although this has brought some economic benefits, it has also made developing countries bear huge social and environmental costs, and China has long been the largest garbage importer.

However, starting this year, China began to ban the import of 24 kinds of foreign garbage; in 2019 and 2020, the scope of import prohibition will be further expanded.

Today, more and more developing countries are joining Chinas ranks. First, Malaysia and Vietnam have announced restrictions on imports of foreign garbage. Recently, Thailand has decided to completely ban imports of plastic waste from abroad starting in 2021.

Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam

Say no to foreign garbage

According to Xinhua News Agency, the meeting on solving the problem of imported garbage held at the Prime Ministers Office of Thailand on November 2 decided that Thailand should not import more than 70,000 tons of plastic waste in 2019, 40,000 tons in 2020 and no more plastic waste in 2021.

Since China rejected 24 types of foreign garbage this year, many countries have exploded their garbage warehouses, and Southeast Asian countries have become the preferred place for foreign garbage. Greenpeace found that half of plastic waste in the United States was exported to Thailand in the first half of this year, totaling more than 915,000 tons, 20 times as much as in the whole year of 2017.

Photo source: visual China (text and text independent)

In June, a whale carcass was found on a beach in Thailand. There were 80 pieces of plastic garbage in the stomach of the whale, which attracted the attention of environmentalists. They said that Thailand had been plastic poisoned. Since then, actions to reduce garbage imports have been put on the agenda.

In addition, in May of this year, Thailand police found that many factories were illegally importing and processing electronic waste. In mid August this year, Thailand announced that it would stop importing 432 types of e-waste within 6 months.

On June 21, 2018, Thai police seized mobile phone batteries from a factory importing and processing electronic waste (photo source: Oriental IC)

Developing countries import electronic waste because precious metals such as gold, silver and copper can be extracted from waste electronic equipment; however, harmful substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium can pollute the environment.

Malaysia and Vietnam are also faster in Southeast Asian countries. In May this year, a large number of imported garbage overwhelmed the port. Vietnam announced the suspension of plastic waste imports.

In August, Malaysia withdrew garbage import licences from some factories under pressure from complaints and complaints from local residents.

According to Greenpeace, plastic waste exports from Britain to Vietnam increased 51% in the first four months of this year, and plastic waste exports from Britain to Malaysia more than doubled.

Chinas warning to the world

The global junk trade was formed in the 80s of last century. It was also at that time that China began to import large quantities of solid wastes that could be used as raw materials.

Under the prevailing global economic environment, many people expressed support for the junk trade. They believe that for those countries with low productivity, imported garbage can help boost the economy. However, they intentionally or unintentionally neglected the environmental pollution and public health pressure brought to developing countries. At that time, some American research institutes even published an article saying that, rationally speaking, people in developing countries should be willing to bear the risk of environmental pollution, because it can bring them higher income.

Photo source: visual China

As developing countries pay more and more attention to the environment and people have more and more understanding of the cost of environmental pollution, the voice against garbage trade is also rising.

From scholars at the World Bank to the media around the world, Chinas ban on foreign waste has been called a wake-up call, which has led countries exporting garbage on a large scale to rethink: how should garbage be handled?

After losing the largest garbage market in the world, many countries and regions began to find new ways for garbage. Others use the old method: find garbage markets in other developing countries, and transfer the pressure of environmental pollution to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Poland and other countries.

But some places are beginning to take measures to make changes. For example, Australias Minister of Environment and Energy said in April that in order to solve the waste crisis, Australia will invest in the construction of waste incineration plants and plan to achieve 100% recyclability of packaging materials by 2025. For example, in October this year, the European Parliament passed a comprehensive ban on disposable plastic products by overwhelming votes, which means that by 2021, it will be difficult to find plastic pipes, tableware and other disposable plastic products on the European market. For other disposable plastics products which do not have ideal substitutes at present, their usage should be reduced by 25% before 2025. Earlier, analysts predicted that more countries would follow China to issue the foreign garbage ban. The chief executive of the British Recycling Association believes that the ban is a good thing. On the one hand, it can force more money to invest in the development of waste disposal technology; on the other hand, it can force the whole industrial chain from commodity manufacturing to waste disposal to renewal. Source: Daily Economic News Editor: Shi Jianlei _NBJ11331

But some places are beginning to take measures to make changes. For example, Australias Minister of Environment and Energy said in April that in order to solve the waste crisis, Australia will invest in the construction of waste incineration plants and plan to achieve 100% recyclability of packaging materials by 2025.

For example, in October this year, the European Parliament passed a comprehensive ban on disposable plastic products by overwhelming votes, which means that by 2021, it will be difficult to find plastic pipes, tableware and other disposable plastic products on the European market. For other disposable plastics products which do not have ideal substitutes at present, their usage should be reduced by 25% before 2025.

Earlier, analysts predicted that more countries would follow China to issue the foreign garbage ban. The chief executive of the British Recycling Association believes that the ban is a good thing. On the one hand, it can force more money to invest in the development of waste disposal technology; on the other hand, it can force the whole industrial chain from commodity manufacturing to waste disposal to renewal.