Illustrative image (Source: nst.com.my)

Jakarta (VNA) - Indonesia has sent tonnes of Australian garbage out of the country, as Southeast Asian nations push back against serving as dumps for foreign trash.

According to the local customs agency, eight containers of trash - weighing some 210 tonnes – have left Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya aboard a cargo ship bound for Singapore.

Six containers contaminated with hazardous waste and two containers mixed with household rubbish left Indonesia on August 12, said Alvina Christine Zebua, a spokeswoman for the East Java customs agency. But she could not confirm when the containers might arrive back in Australia.

The move comes less than a week after Australia pledged to stop exporting recyclable waste amid global concerns about plastic polluting the oceans and increasing pushback from Asian nations against accepting trash.

Last month, Indonesia said it would return the Australian rubbish after authorities found hazardous material and household trash, including used diapers and electronic waste, in containers meant to hold only waste paper.

Last month, Indonesia returned seven shipping containers of illegally imported waste to France and Hong Kong.

Authorities were also preparing to return another 42 containers of waste, including shipments from the US, Australia and Germany.

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