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Cash for trash: Indonesia village banks on waste recycling

Updated : 2019-08-16 10:01:42

Indonesia's crackdown on imported foreign waste has upset the village of Bangun, where residents say they earn more money sorting through piles of garbage than growing rice in once-lush paddy fields.

Overwhelmed by a spike in waste imports after China closed its doors to foreign garbage, Indonesia has tightened import rules and customs inspections, sending hundreds of tonnes of foreign waste back to their origin countries. Green groups praised the crackdown, but Bangun residents say restricting trash from countries like the United States, Canada and Australia will wipe out a key source of income.

Workers sort plastics and scraps collected by scavengers at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Workers sort plastics and scraps collected by scavengers at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Plastics sorted inside a basket are pictured at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Plastics sorted inside a basket are pictured at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Scraps sorted inside a basket are pictured at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Scraps sorted inside a basket are pictured at a collecting site in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Rayhan Fastabichul Khoirot, five-years-old, leans back on a car as a worker carries a basket of dry rubbish to load onto a pick-up car at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Rayhan Fastabichul Khoirot, five-years-old, leans back on a car as a worker carries a basket of dry rubbish to load onto a pick-up car at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Sunarni laughs as her husband Salam jokes with his friend near a pile of rubbish at Bangun village. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Sunarni laughs as her husband Salam jokes with his friend near a pile of rubbish at Bangun village. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
A fisherman collects fish caught from Brantas river in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
A fisherman collects fish caught from Brantas river in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Children lay down as they play on a pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Children lay down as they play on a pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Rayhan Fastabichul Khoirot, five-years-old, walks as he plays on a pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Rayhan Fastabichul Khoirot, five-years-old, walks as he plays on a pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
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