Why is Southeast Asia so bad at managing its waste?

by Pei Ying Loh

We know that Southeast Asia has a plastic waste problem. Ever since the world’s largest importer of plastic trash, China, decided to stop bringing in this waste in 2017, much of it has landed on Southeast Asia. While a handful of Southeast Asian nations have continued to import plastic waste, the rest are refusing it in attempts to turn the tide on the issue.

What’s in Southeast Asia’s waste?
Why is waste management in the region poor?

Trash pickers at Bantar Gebang, the open dump just outside of Jakarta.

A matter of lesser evils?
What then?
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