This week has seen the latest in the trend of waste disguised as recycling from the western world being dumped in developing nations. On this occasion, more than 100 containers from the UK were found in Sri Lanka to contain hazardous waste mixed with mattresses, clothes and plastic. The hazardous waste included syringes and suspected human remains from mortuaries. The waste had been exported to Sri Lanka under the guise of metal recycling. The Sri Lankan government has ordered the return of the waste to the UK whilst the Environment Agency have stated that they are investigating.
In recent months, nations such as Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines have returned containers of waste to their countries of origin after they had been falsely labelled as plastic. The recent series on the BBC, War on Plastic, also showed plastic waste from the UK that had been dumped in abandoned facilities in Malaysia.
All of this is highlighting that the western world, including the UK, is not adequately dealing with the waste that it produces and the developing world is taking a stance on falsely labelled waste. These, coupled with a new, possibly more environment focussed Prime Minister could lead to a greater emphasis on the UK dealing with its own waste as well as a focus on reducing the consumption of materials such as plastic.