Sri Lanka finds hazardous waste in UK metal recycling cargo
UK Environment Agency to investigate discovery of 130 foul-smelling containers
“We are committed to tackling illegal waste exports, which is why individuals found to be exporting incorrectly described waste can face a two-year jail term or an unlimited fine.”UK Environment Agency
“In the initial video that they posted on the news you could see this weird liquid – a greenish, blueish liquid – coming out of the containers and into the waterways,” said Avishka Sendanayake, a consultant on climate change and sustainability. “We don’t know what kind of chemical waste this is,” she said.
Sendanayake took part in small protests outside the British high commission in Colombo on Wednesday, demanding the UK to take back its waste. “We are still struggling to deal with waste within the country; there is no way we can deal with the waste coming in from another country,” she said.
In 2017, 19 people were killed, including five children, after a huge rubbish dump collapsed on to their homes in Colombo.
Last year, China banned foreign plastic waste imports, causing trash to flow instead to Sri Lanka and across south-east Asia. Countries have quickly become overwhelmed and are increasingly taking a stand over the dumping of waste by foreign nations.
Earlier this month, Cambodia announced it would send 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste found in shipping containers back to the US and Canada, while Indonesia said it would send back dozens of containers full of waste to France and Australia. Earlier this year, Malaysia said it would ship 450 tonnes of imported plastic waste back to its sources.
A UK Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We are committed to tackling illegal waste exports, which is why individuals found to be exporting incorrectly described waste can face a two-year jail term or an unlimited fine.”