How to avoid drowning in rubbish

For years rich countries have adopted a policy of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to recycling waste.

Expert comment
1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Consumers have been filling their bins with rubbish that is contaminated with food or otherwise unsuitable for recycling in the knowledge that it will be shipped abroad for someone else to sort out.

Not any more. Since China stopped taking in the world’s rubbish, the system has broken down leaving mountains of waste to be buried or burnt, writes Kate O’Neill in our cover story. The only solution is a global approach to the export of domestic rubbish, as already applies to the transfer of hazardous waste.

A good starting point is to ban single-use plastic. Patrick Schröder and Ashish Chaturvedi report from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on a plan to stop plastic waste polluting the shoreline and the oceans. Ann Pettifor, the economist and champion of the Green New Deal, explains why her ideas are gaining ground among US Democrats.

A feature of our time is the growing number of regional conflicts that rage on without the Trump White House having the vision to end them. Venezuela is a growing humanitarian disaster but Washington has run out of ideas on how to remove the Maduro government.

In Yemen, where 100,000, have died in four years of war, Farea al-Muslimi argues that the conflict gets more confused and harder to resolve each day because regional powers are being manipulated by their local proxies.

Our interview is with Peter Frankopan, the Oxford historian and author of the global bestseller The Silk Roads, who argues that China is not an empire-builder and talk of a return to the Cold War era is misleading.