"It does not mean that we reject imports of paper and plastic scrap. The problem is that these imports were contaminated by illegal waste, such as used diapers, used infusion bottles, ampoules, and used batteries," Nurbaya said here on Tuesday.
According to data from the ministry, most of the waste was imported from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hong Kong.
The ministry has so far re-exported 400 containers of illegal waste, and there are some 1,262 to 1,380 more containers that need to be checked for illegal and hazardous waste.
The minister cited President Joko Widodo as saying that he would not tolerate the import of waste contaminated by hazardous material.
The president has ordered the checking system to be improved, a survey in its country of origin, and the use of domestic waste as raw material for industry.
President Joko Widodo during a meeting on waste import at the Bogor Palace ordered the strict monitoring of the import of waste as its poor management has the potential to damage the environment.
Despite the demand from the local industry for paper scrap and plastic waste, Jokowi said many items that are imported as garbage have the potential to damage the environment, especially those that cannot be recycled.
In 2018, data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showed an increase of 141 percent (283,152 tons) in the import of plastic waste to Indonesia.
This figure was the highest for imports of plastic waste in the past 10 years. In 2013, the import of plastic waste was some 124,433 tons. However, the increase in imports is not balanced with the export figures, as these figures declined 48 percent (98,450 tons) in 2018. Related news: Jokowi orders strict monitoring of waste imports
Related news: Indonesia to re-export illegal plastic waste
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