The burning of plastic waste in Indonesia, much of which has been sent there by the West, is poisoning the food chain. Environmental group named International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) found, in one East Java village, toxic dioxins in chicken eggs is 70 times more than permissible by European safety standards. Long term exposure to the chemical is linked to cancer, respiratory issues caused by fumes from burning of plastic, destruction of immune system and developmental issues. The open burning of plastics was allegedly sent to Indonesia to be cast-off.
Researchers from IPEN collected free range chicken eggs at two sites near Surabaya in East Java. Testing eggs, the researcher alleged, “was the easiest way to check whether the chemicals known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as dioxine had made it into the food chain.”
The most serious reading was taken near a group of tofu factories that burns plastic for fuel, in the village of Tropodo. The tests found eating one egg would exceed the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) tolerable daily intake for chlorinated dioxins seventy times over.
The researcher focused on the area around a paper factory in East Java, where around 40% of its paper is imported. But the paper is found to be adulterated with low quality plastic.
China enforced a ban on waste imports to the mainland at the start of 2017, leading to a huge influx of waste sent to other countries.
Prof. Peter Dobson, from university of Oxford, believes western countries exporting their plastic waste must also be held accountable. Western waste is one part of the many problems when it comes to tackling plastic in Indonesia.