Hong Kong is struggling to dispose of its vast quantity of waste, reports Reuters, after China introduced a ban in 2017 on imports of 24 different types of unprocessed rubbish.
The ban is a move by Beijing to reduce nationwide pollution levels and help improve the domestic recycling industry.
Hong Kong, despite being considered a special administrative region of China, was particularly affected. In 2016 the small state exported over 90% of recyclables to its northern neighbour.
The local government has acknowledged the extent of the problem, referencing Hong Kong’s lack of available land as a reason for its ineffective recycling industry. Others, however, point to poor organisation on the issue. “Hong Kong is a rich city with third-world quality recycling,” said Doug Woodring, founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance in Hong Kong. “It has been too easy to send unprocessed waste to China.”