Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka has sent back the first batch of hundreds of containers of waste to the U.K., becoming the latest nation in the Global South to push back against abuses of a worldwide recycling framework by exporters in the West. An initial consignment of 21 containers arrived back in the U.K., the county of origin, in late November, according to the ship-tracking data. There are still another 242 containers waiting to be shipped back, according to Sri Lanka Customs. Sri Lanka, like many other countries in the Global South, routinely imports waste from the West to recycle. The country is also a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which means exporters must obtain its consent to send medical or other biohazardous waste. But the exporters behind the containers in question appeared to have flouted that rule by packing their containers with suspected medical waste, according to a customs inspection in July 2019. Officials reported finding discarded mattresses, carpets and rugs that appeared to be soiled. “In this case, Sri Lanka hasn’t received any request from the U.K., so this is an illegal shipment,” Ajith Weerasundara, director of chemicals and hazardous waste management unit at the Central Environment Authority (CEA), told Mongabay. “We have officially requested the U.K. to recall the hazardous waste.” Sunil Jayarathne, a spokesman for Sri Lanka Customs, told Mongabay that the containers were imported by a Sri Lankan company between 2017 and 2018 for…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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