27.04.19 Malaysia rated one of the world’s worst for plastic pollution.
Dozens of laborers and factory operators sit hand-cuffed in rows on the pavement at an industrial park in Malaysia. They've been detained in a government raid on unlicensed plastic recyclers as the country seeks to curb a growing illicit industry. "It's illegal," said Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, who attended the raid and had invited journalists to watch. Malaysia is cracking down on opportunists who are trying to cash-in on China's decision last year to ban plastic waste imports. Since July 2018, officials have shut down at least 148 unlicensed plastic recycling factories -- but have only pressed charges against a handful of suspects. Much of the waste comes from countries outside Malaysia, including the US, which angers Yeo who says wealthy nations shouldn't be using her country as a trash dump. "I will take care of my own rubbish," she says. "You should take care of yours." The rise of illegal recyclers in Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, has exposed the rotten side of an industry that experts say is often anything but "green." According to a recent Greenpeace report, during the first seven months of 2018, plastic waste exported from the US to Malaysia more than doubled compared to the previous year. And the US wasn't alone. Other top exporters of plastic scrap to Malaysia include Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hong Kong, according to the Malaysian government. Credit: CNN
Poverty deprives people of adequate education, health care and of life's most basic necessities- safe living conditions (including clean air and clean drinking water) and an adequate food supply. The developed (industrialized) countries today account for roughly 20 percent of the world's population but control about 80 percent of the world's wealth.
Poverty and pollution seem to operate in a vicious cycle that, so far, has been hard to break. Even in the developed nations, the gap between the rich and the poor is evident in their respective social and environmental conditions.