Indonesia sends back hundreds of shipping containers full of waste hinh anh 1Indonesia has sent hundreds of garbage-filled shipping containers back to their countries of origin. (Source: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA)
- Indonesia has sent hundreds of garbage-filled shipping containers back to their countries of origin as the Southeast Asian nation pushes back against becoming a dumping ground for foreign trash, the country’s customs agency said on September 4.

About 250 containers seized across the archipelago in recent months have already been returned, the agency’s spokesman Deni Surjantoro said.

Among them, 49 containers of waste seized on Batam Island near Singapore have been shipped back to the United States, Germany, France, Hong Kong (China) and Australia.

The shipments were loaded with a combination of garbage, plastic waste and hazardous materials in violation of import rules.

Nearly 200 containers have also been shipped out of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-biggest city, to the US, Britain and Germany, according to customs data.

Meanwhile, customs officials are gearing up to send back about 150 containers while inspecting more than 1,000 others that could contain banned materials, Surjantoro said.

Data from the statistics agency showed imports of plastic waste rose 141 percent last year to 283,000 tonnes, after China decided not to import the waste to clean up its environment from January 2018.

Indonesia is struggling to deal with its own waste, which often goes into landfills or seeps into rivers. The country is the second biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the ocean, a 2015 study in the journal Science showed. To cut pollution, Indonesia also sought a levy on plastic bags but the parliament delayed the move, following industry complains.

About 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), with much of it ending up in landfills or polluting the seas.-VNA