Image via jdnx via Flickr CC
A few weeks ago we reported that dozens of containers of trash were shipped from Britain to Brazil under the pretense that they were filled with plastics for recycling. They weren't. They were filled with trash. Brazil got pretty peeved and now we've caught wind that they've finally shipped the waste back to the UK where it'll be disposed of properly. Reuters reports:
Eighty-nine containers packed with trash that includes dirty diapers, used syringes, food waste and computer parts were hoisted on to the freighter MSC Oriane in the early morning hours at Santos, South America's largest port.
The incident outraged many Brazilians and prompted President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to criticize Britain and developed nations for urging higher environmental standards while using developing nations as garbage dumps.
"How could countries that say they do everything to protect the environment with technology, funds and material means send their domestic, chemical and industrial waste to poor and developing countries to be burned and buried?" said Minister of the Environment Carlos Minc in a statement.
Exactly the point we're wondering about. The issue is really underscored when looking at e-waste, which is too often sent off to developing nations to be "processed" in poisonous ways that ruin the environment and the people dealing with it. There's no excuse for those people responsible for these shipments to have not realized the containers were not full of plastics for recycling, but of garbage that needed to be dealt with at the source.
British police arrested three men last month, but no charges have yet been raised. Because of this mess, how much fuel was burned and carbon emissions created by shipping 1,600 tons of trash back and forth from Britain and Brazil? Hopefully good will come out of the waste as eyes are turned towards problems in waste disposal.
More on Waste Issues in the UK
E-Waste A Growing Problem in UK Landfills
UK Looks for Storage for Piles of Worthless Recycling Waste
UK Grocery Chain Sainsbury's to Start Turning Wasted Food Into Electricity