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11,000 Back Call For New Zealand To Stop Sending Its Plastic Waste To Developing Nations

26 July

A petition with over 11,000 signatures calling on New Zealand to stop sending our plastic recycling to developing countries was delivered to Parliament today.

The petition leader, Lydia Chai, a Malaysian based in Auckland, says New Zealand has to take responsibility for our plastic waste.

“20 million tonnes of New Zealand’s plastic waste is sent overseas every year, largely to developing nations, including Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, where huge amounts are being illegally dumped or burnt” said Chai.

Chai said in the case of Malaysia, the burning of New Zealand’s plastics in the town of Jenjarom is causing serious health problems and environmental problems.

“As well air and water quality degradation, and locals have observed that the bird, bee and fish populations have decreased alarmingly and there has been an almost six fold increase in cancer and asthma in the area.”

“My family lives close to Jenjarom. They are breathing in these fumes,” said Chai.

Chai said the New Zealand government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to what is happening.

“When we knowingly export our waste to countries with poor resources, capacity and capability for effective monitoring, reporting, compliance, enforcement and weak environmental and human rights protections, this becomes a human rights issue we cannot ignore.”

When questioned about the issue on Monday, the Prime Minister said she agreed in principle with the petition and that the government was working towards building the facilities to process New Zealand’s plastics onshore.

Green party spokesperson for the Environment Eugenie Sage accepted the petition and National party for the Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson for National also spoke at the event.

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