Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canberra vows to stop exporting its recycleable waste

Canberra vows to stop exporting its recycleable waste

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Australia’s Morrison agreed to prepare a timeline to phase out the exports of recyclables. Roslan RAHMAN/AFP

Canberra vows to stop exporting its recycleable waste

Australia pledged on Friday to stop exporting recyclable waste amid global concerns about plastic polluting the oceans and increasing pushback from Asian nations against accepting trash.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed with Australian state and territory leaders to prepare a timeline to phase out the exports of recyclables like plastics, paper and glass.

“It’s our waste and it’s our responsibility,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We’re laying it out very clearly that there will be no export of plastics and paper and glass to other countries where it runs the risk of ending up floating around in our oceans – whether off the Great Barrier Reef, which we know there’s strong evidence of that, or anywhere else,” he said.

“We will do everything that is in our remit to achieve that goal,” he added.

No deadline has been set but local leaders have been tasked with reducing landfill and boosting the recycling sector in Australia, where just 12 per cent of plastics are currently recycled.

Government figures show that the country shipped more than four million tonnes, or 12 per cent, of its recyclable waste overseas last financial year, largely to Asian countries.

China began restricting imports on foreign plastics in 2017, leaving developed nations seeking new destinations to dump their rubbish.

They started shipping huge amounts of trash to other Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

But they too have been pushing back.

Indonesia last month said it would return more than 210 tonnes of garbage to Australia after authorities said they uncovered hazardous material and household trash like diapers in containers meant to hold only waste paper.

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 US.

Earlier this year, G20 nations agreed on a voluntary plan to reduce the plastic waste choking the seas.

A particular environmental concern are microplastics – tiny pieces of degraded waste that absorb harmful chemicals and accumulate inside fish, birds and other animals.

Morrison’s call comes before an annual meeting of Pacific nations this week, where ocean pollution and climate change are expected to dominate discussions.

Australia’s conservative government has come under fire from Pacific leaders for not doing enough to tackle climate change, with many low-lying nations threatened by rising seas.

Morrison earlier pledged A$16 million (US$10.9 million) toward a Pacific Ocean litter reduction project.


  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • The French mother navigating the capital in her own personal tuk-tuk

    French woman Cecile Dahome gracefully manoeuvres her tuk-tuk through the manic streets of Phnom Penh with the precision of a Japanese katana before a herd of motorcyclists, attempting to perform illegal U-turns, cuts her off. The riders, like baby ducklings following their mother’s tracks,