A network of 52 environmental organisations have written to major shipping lines asking them not to export plastic waste from rich to poorer countries.
Led by Basel Action Network (BAN), but also including Greenpeace, GAIA, the Environmental Investigation Agency and The Last Beach Cleanup, they have urged the shipping lines to establish policies and implement procedures to prevent the export of plastic waste from OECD countries to non-OECD countries.
Shipping lines that have received the letters include Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC, Hamburg SUD, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Evergreen, COSCO and Orient Shipping.
According to the activists, such exports are highly likely to be unsorted, contaminated and illegal materials.
BAN executive director Jim Puckett said: “Exporting plastic waste to developing countries is not good for the world and is not good for the shipping business.
“These shipments are likely to be caught in the net of illegal trade, tracked by Interpol, seized by governments, incurring demurrage and return charges while tarnishing the shipping lines’ reputations. In sum, serving as a global pipeline for plastic pollution is not good for anyone.”