14-year old asks Dutch ministry to stop plastic export
Take back your trash from Indonesia
“Please stop exporting your plastic waste to Indonesia and take back your trash from Indonesia. Please help me to live in clean and healthy environment and plastic free world.”
Last Monday, 14-year old Aeshnina Azzahra Aqilan (Nina), handed over a letter to Barbara Visser, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water, asking her to stop plastic waste exports to Indonesia.
Nina lives not far from Bangun, a village in East Java that became a dumpsite for imported plastic trash. Plastic waste is smuggled in paper bales that are imported by Indonesian paper mills from the USA, UK, Canada, The Netherlands, Italy, and other developed countries. Nina found plastic trash from the Netherlands at the dumpsite of this village.
The people in Bangun sort the waste: recyclable plastic waste is sold to plastic recycling factories, the non-recyclable plastic waste to the local tofu factory as fuel. The burned plastic releases toxic dioxin and creates toxic ashes that endanger peoples’ health. The recycling factories wash the plastic waste and discharge the untreated waste water, releasing microplastics and other pollutants into the river Brantas, a river that provides drinking water to six million people. Microplastics have the same size as plankton and are eaten by the fish. Local community eat these fish.
In her letter, Nina writes: “I am sure that the Netherlands have better facilities to recycle plastic waste than Indonesia. If you ship plastic waste to Indonesia, it will not be treated properly, because it will be dumped or openly burned in the villages near paper mills. Please don’t put more burden on us, Indonesia is not a global dump site. We don’t have the capacity to solve our own waste problem. Your plastic waste is already polluting my environment and threatening our health and endangering our future environment.”