Polluted vicinity

Published: Tuesday 15 April 1997

close on the heels of the nuclear waste deal between Taiwan and North Korea (nk) comes another disturbing bit of news for nk's southern neighbour. It was recently revealed that since 1994, at least 95,000 tonnes of household plastic waste have been shipped to Pyongyang, the capital of nk. The news has provoked fresh protests from South Korea (sk), which shot off angry missives to Germany's environment ministry about the repercussions of such shipments. sk is concerned that any pollution arising from the plastic rubbish would affect its environment. There are also fears that some waste may have been simply dumped.

Between September 1994 to December 1996, around 20 shiploads of plastic bags, bottles, beakers and wrappings were shipped to nk for recycling. The shipments stopped after a new recycling capacity was installed in Germany. According to Greenpeace Germany, the country had been exporting rubbish "legally or illegally" to over 30 countries including China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines between 1988 and 1993.

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