Greenpeace: UK plastic waste dumped in Turkey

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After the latest finding, Greenpeace has reported that about 40% of the UK plastic waste weighing about 210000 tonnes, was illegally dumped and burned in Turkey last year. The country’s plastic waste was seen as an economic opportunity for Turkey. It has quickly become an environmental hazard. While meant to be recycled, researchers found the waste being dumped in water bodies, by roads and fields.

Apart from Turkey, Malaysia and Poland import a large portion of this plastic waste. 10 sites in Southern Turkey were identified by the investigation where the waste was dumped illegally. This waste showed traces of packaging from British retailers and supermarkets. Experts beckoned the packaging for a Covid antigen test, pointing towards the fact that the waste is less than an year old.

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The United Kingdom produces immense amounts of plastic waste per person, seconded only by the United States of America. The Greenpeace report has warned Turkey that it could soon become Europe’s ‘largest plastic waste dump’. Greenpeace has also called on the UK to take measures to tackle the problem.

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The government has been severely condemned by environmental activists for its complacency. The organization has asked the government to ban any export of plastic waste and also to reduce the use of single-use plastics by 50% by the end of 2025. Nina Schrank, a senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace believes that the heart of the problem is overproduction. Every day nearly 241 truckloads of waste come to Turkey from all over Europe, which is overwhelming for the country to dispose of in an environmentally safe manner.

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Member nations of the European Union, as well as the governance of UK, have laws in place which prevent them from exporting waste unless meant for recycling. This means that Turkey receives waste from a number of nations annually. Fields and waterways are suffocating under the pressure of all these plastic wastes miles away from where they were actually generated. The problem of waste disposal is a critical issue facing the contemporary global scenario. Nations must learn to take responsibility for the waste products of their citizens and recycle them in an environment-friendly manner. Dumping and burning are not only severely affecting the present world but will have long-standing impacts in the time to come.

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