Bloomberg Tried to Blame Southeast Asia for World’s Trash Problems, Immediately Regrets It


Western media outlet Bloomberg recently released a list which blamed several southeast Asian countries for polluting the ocean with trash, but netizens from the region did not take the accusations lightly. 

On July 13, Bloomberg’s official Twitter page listed down eight countries who are “responsible for 63.6% of ocean trash,” which includes China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In the article that Bloomberg posted, “How to Solve the Plastic Crisis,” claimed that the ones responsible for these figures within the eight mentioned countries are the “newly minted consumer classes,” according to Mashable.

The author, Adam Minter, who happens to have 20 years of experience in researching and writing about the global recycling industry, also offered a “solution” as cited by McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment, which could improve the collection of trash.

It was said in the study that if China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines increase their collection of trash to 80%, then this effort could reduce the plastic wastes in the ocean by 23% within a 10-year time frame.

What Minter failed to mention in his op-ed, however, is that most of the trash that these countries “generated” are not exactly theirs. Many Twitter users were quick to point out this fact.

Even political activist Shailja Patel joined in to call out Bloomberg’s claim by stating that “these eight countries are where the US and Europe send their trash.”

Then one user posted a graph showing which countries generate the most waste in kilograms.

What the users are claiming has found to be true. Indonesia, for instance, has seen a massive growth of waste imports from western countries. Data shows that in 2017 Indonesia received 10,000 tons of import waste per month that grew exponentially to 35,000 tons per month in late 2018.

Many southeast Asian countries are now sending back the garbage that western countries dumped. In late May 2019, the Philippines sent back 69 containers of trash to Canada that they had dumped in the Philippines about 6 years ago.

The waste problem in the region had become so problematic that Japan is now stepping in and expressed its plans to help its neighboring nations in managing their trash that they can be turned into energy.

Featured image via Flickr / Gerry & Bonni (CC BY 2.0)

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