Khian Sea: The Wandering Garbage Barge

Every year, millions of tons of garbage are shipped out by wealthy countries to poorer countries in Africa, Asia and South America to be recycled. Exporting waste is typically cheaper than developing local recycling infrastructure. It also reduces landfill, and for the importers, it provides an additional source of income. Although the waste is supposed to be recycled, they are seldom done so. Often they are incinerated, or illegally dumped in landfills, which cause environmental degradation and serious harm to human health.

While waste exports by industrialized nations to developing ones is a phenomenon that goes largely unnoticed and uncared, an incident happened in the late 1990s that shone an international spotlight on this unfair trade practice.

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