The International War on Waste

Thai activists and Greenpeace activists stand in front of plastic and electronic waste at Foreign Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, June 20, 2019 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).
Thai activists and Greenpeace activists stand in front of plastic and electronic waste at Foreign Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, June 20, 2019 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).
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Plastics, e-waste and other hazardous waste are routinely traded across borders in what amounts to an “out of sight, out of mind” approach for the rich countries that produce them. The story is more complicated for the communities that receive and dispose of the waste. Hazardous waste poses risks to the health of local communities and the environment, spurring attempts to ban its movement across borders. But in countries like Turkey, Vietnam and Ghana, waste is often processed to extract its residual value. The important source of income it provides explains why those efforts have been of limited success and […]

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