Boy in Tra Vinh, Vietnam
"When we talk about things we throw away, there's really no such thing as 'away,'" Derfel said. "What if 'away' was my house and I had to live in it?"
This boy is digging through mountains of garbage at the dump where he lives in Tra Vinh, Vietnam. There, as 5 years old earn about $1.33 on a good day selling plastic to local recyclers. This trash was not imported from the developing world, but the scene is reminiscent of small-scale plastics collection in China and other developing nations.
Trash bloggers cite the effects of their consumer behavior on people around the planet. Even though the West Coast bloggers enjoy plastics recycling where they live, they said they were disturbed to discover that plastic recycling is rare in the United States. Most is sent abroad, primarily to China, for recycling by small operators there.
Scrap collectors often burn the plastics to identify the scent, inhaling toxic fumes and releasing poisons into the ground and waterways. As with the global trade in electronics waste, plastics recycling is largely unregulated in developing nations. However, in December, the Chinese government enacted environmental protections designed to curb the hazards of plastics recycling. But the rules do not cover electronics and medical waste, according to E-Scrap News.
February 7, 2008 11:56 AM PST
Photo by: Bernie Duff
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