Despite strict EU regulations on plastic recycling, there is little oversight on plastic waste shipped from the EU to Vietnam.
About half of Europe’s plastic waste is exported to a number of countries in the Global South, including Vietnam.
A Dutch and Vietnamese research team ventured to Minh Khai Craft Village, the largest recycling hub in Vietnam, to follow the recycling path of European plastic.
“We observed people cooking, eating and living within the recycling facility, surrounded by the noxious fumes of melting plastic. Children play in this suffocating environment,” Thapa, the lead researcher, recounts.
7 million liters of toxic wastewater are dumped into the waterways of the village daily.