Waste: Sri Lanka

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many containers (a) including body parts from mortuaries and (b) of other hazardous waste have been returned to the UK from Sri Lanka in the last three years.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This year 31 containers of waste have arrived back in England. The containers, which were shipped to Sri Lanka in 2017, were found by the Sri Lankan authorities to contain waste described as mattresses and carpets exported for recycling. This is part of a shipment totalling 263 containers all of which are due to be returned to England soon.

Despite media reports suggesting that medical waste was illegally shipped from England to Sri Lanka, the Environment Agency (EA) as the competent authority for waste shipments for England, has not received any indication or evidence from the Sri Lankan authorities to corroborate those reports. Unless or until the EA receive such evidence to the contrary or come across it, it is the view of the EA that these media reports are incorrect and misleading.

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