About 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste, which was found in 83 shipping containers in Cambodia's main port of Sihanoukville, will be sent back to the USA and Canada, a spokesman for the Cambodian Environment Minister said on Wednesday.
The rubbish was found a day earlier in scores of shipping containers at the port town of Sihanoukville and will be sent back to its origin, environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told AFP.
Tuesday's discovery of the waste followed a statement at a Cabinet meeting last week by Prime Minister Hun Sen that Cambodia is not the dumping ground for any kind of waste, and does not allow the import of any kinds of plastic waste or other recyclables.
He said 70 containers full of plastic waste were shipped from the United States while another 13 were sent from Canada.
Southeastern Asian countries are pushing back on Western rubbish shipments that have been arriving in droves.
The customs ministry is now conducting an investigation into how the containers ended up in Cambodia, and which companies or groups are behind the import.
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Witness Tom White told local media that concrete tiles from the roof of the house had been blown 100m in every direction. Fifty residents have been evacuated from the suburb of Northwood and emergency crews have cordoned off the scene.
The complications began previous year when China banned foreign plastic waste shipment imports, throwing global recycling into chaos.
"Cambodia is not a bin for out-of-date technology to be dumped in", he said.
Cambodia has taken this blow and retaliated, and Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol said that this trash "delivery" was a "serious insult".
Nhim said that 83 containers have arrived since October 2018, containing only plastic waste. The country, like many others in the region, have been targeted by shipments of the toxic waste as ships bounce from port to port trying to unload it.
Electronic waste, which often has toxic qualities, is also a major problem, with shipments bouncing from port to port after being turned away.
The Cambodian federal government has made a decision to send back the shipments back to the origins which are the United States and Canada.