International garbage in developing nations, commonly referred to as waste dumping or waste trade, is a serious problem that has come to light recently. It entails the transfer of waste from developed countries to emerging or less economically developed countries, including hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Despite the fact that this activity is normally prohibited, it still happens on occasion through corrupt practices, mislabeling, or illegal imports.
In order to avoid the costs of proper disposal, and to benefit from some developing countries’ lower labor and environmental laws, developed countries frequently export their waste. Electronic waste (often known as “e-waste”), metals, plastics, glass, and hazardous compounds like lead, mercury, and brominated flame retardants are just a few of the materials that make up e-waste. Global electronic trash generation reached a record 53.6 million metric tons in 2019, a 21% increase in only five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, which was published recently. The latest analysis projects that by 2030, worldwide e-waste, or used items with a battery or plug, would reach 74 million metric tons, nearly doubling in size in just 16 years.
As a result, e-waste is currently the fastest-growing home waste stream in the world. Its growth is mostly due to increased consumption of electric and electronic equipment as well as its short lifespan and limited repair possibilities. The environment and human health may suffer significantly from improper e-waste treatment and disposal. Toxic compounds may be released into the air, water, and soil when e-waste is burned or disposed of in landfills, harming ecosystems and endangering human health. Reproductive and neurological problems, and even cancer, can result from exposure to these dangerous compounds.
Similarly, the trade in plastic waste has drawn a lot of attention recently due to the concerns regarding plastic contamination. Exports of plastic trash have primarily gone to Southeast Asia, in particular Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. But several of these nations have now enacted stronger guidelines and import prohibitions on plastic garbage. In 2018, when China stopped buying plastic waste, Malaysia became a significant location for waste-trafficking. According to the Malaysian government and United Nations, 850000 metric tons of plastic waste was imported that year. During 2021, Malaysia sent 267 containers of illegal plastic waste back to their origin countries. In recent news, as part of a larger drive to reduce plastic use, and in order to reduce pollution and safeguard public health, Thailand will outlaw the import of any plastic garbage by 2025, in accordance with a three-stage strategy.
Most of the countries have banned the import of plastic waste. Due to the high consumption of plastics they have not been able to recycle completely. While waste management has become a major global issue, the only way out is reduction of plastic and other hazardous products.