Ethiopia becomes one of the newest recipients of US plastic trash along with Bangladesh, Laos, and Senegal. According to the report of the Guardian hotspots, countries handling the US plastic recycling are some of the world’s poorest countries, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation.
Last year, “the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic trash was exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their plastic waste” the Guardian reports.
China and Hong Kong handled more than half the wastes about 1.6m tons of plastic recycling every year in 2015. However, much of what America sent was contaminated with food or dirt, and amid growing environmental and health fears, China shut its doors to all but the cleanest plastics in late 2017. In 2018, the US sent 83,000 tons of plastic recycling to Vietnam. “We’re terrified of the plastic fumes, and we don’t dare to drink the water from underground here,” said a 60-year-old Vietnamese mother of seven, living amid piles of grimy American plastic on the outskirts of Hanoi.
The Ethiopian government hasn’t said anything about this the US plastic waste shipment yet.