Voice of the Diaspora
America – A new report warns of what since 2018 it's a loud cry. Since that year China decided to close its borders to the entry of plastic waste from other countries, Latin America is becoming an emerging destination: the world's new plastic dump.
For more than six months, a team from the Cross-Border Investigative Network of Ojo Público and PopLab has followed thousands of tons of this waste that reaches five countries in the region.: Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia.
They come mainly from the USA. and the European Union. The promise is that these materials will be recycled, but the opaque commercial exchange and the lack of vigilance by the authorities of the countries that receive them make it impossible to know the final destination of this waste.
Ojo Público's monitoring has been exhaustive, as stated on your website, where you can see the route of thousands of shipments of this garbage during the last 10 years. But nevertheless, the actual exchange can be much higher, given the lack of transparency and the illegal traffic that occurs in this sector.
Mexico is one of the countries with the highest consumption of plastics and at the same time it has become a garbage dump for the United States.. Total, since 2012 a 2022 has received 897.000 tons of plastic waste.
In Peru at that time they arrived 62.000 tons of plastic waste mostly from the Dominican Republic, Chile and Costa Rica. The main importing companies are dedicated to the manufacture of construction products, industrial tools and the management and recycling of plastic waste.
in these ten years, they arrived in Chile 50.000 tons and to Colombia 45.500. Further away is Ecuador, what, but nevertheless, It is one of the top three countries to receive plastic waste from the US., in the last decade 21.000 tons.
Among these wastes are containers and other products that can be recycled, although it is estimated that only a small portion reaches that destination, but also waste for medical use such as syringes, old monitor casings or buckets that contained toxic products.
According to the report, this garbage comes mainly from USA., China, Holland and Germany, but also from other countries in the region such as Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Panama or Puerto Rico.
American companies are the ones that send the most plastic garbage to Latin America. According to the Ojo Público study, 111 million tons made that trip in the last two decades, generating a business superior to the 500 millions of dollars.
The buying and selling of this type of waste is a business that governments are often unable to supervise and, even, they do not have sufficient capacity to process the high volumes that enter their territory.
Between 2000 Y 2019, Plastic production nearly doubled globally; but nevertheless, their waste grew at an even higher rate, achieved an increase of 126 %.