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Sri Lanka raises stink over waste consignments from Britain

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By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka has ordered the return of 213 containers of waste from Britain after finding, plastic and biological waste including suspected human body parts in the shipments, government officials said on Thursday.

Sri Lanka is the latest in a string of Asian countries to reject shipments of waste from Western countries after China banned such imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tonnes of waste each year.

“There is an investigation going on and we’ve also informed the importers to re-export immediately to the first port it was exported from,” said Sri Lanka Customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne told Reuters.

“The UK has violated the Basel Convention,” he said, referring to a U.N. treaty on the trade of plastic waste.

Over the last two months, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have all ordered the return of waste shipments to Canada, the United States, Japan, France, Australia and other countries.

About 180 countries reached a deal in May to amend the Basel Convention to make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated, while also ensuring that its management is safer for human health and the environment.

The United States, the world’s top exporter of plastic waste, has not ratified the 30-year-old pact.

(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Euan Rocha)

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