Last year, the Netherlands was the country in the European Union that exported the most plastic waste to countries that might not be able to process it properly, according to a report by the Plastic Soup Foundation after its own research. According to the foundation, the Netherlands plays a major role in the “hidden trade in plastic waste”.
Globally, only Japan and the United States exported more plastic waste to non-OECD countries in 2021. These are countries that often do not have the appropriate infrastructure to properly process this waste, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. In many cases, waste is dumped into the open air and burned, after which harmful substances and plastic waste can affect the environment and human health.
The Netherlands exported a total of 200 million kilograms of waste, of which 70 million kilograms were to Indonesia and 64 million to Vietnam. The Plastic Soup Corporation mapped the numbers using a database of import and export information from nearly two hundred countries or regions in the world.
According to the foundation, the export of plastic waste to vulnerable countries is only increasing, even if the rules are tightened. “In 2021, there was more than double that in 2020.” According to the foundation, it is unclear why the export of plastic waste has increased.
The Foundation advocates the need to restrict the export of plastic waste to countries outside the European Union. The Netherlands in particular – as the largest transit port for plastic waste – must assume its responsibility in this regard.
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