At the beginning of last year, 187 countries took steps to limit the export of plastic trash from wealthy to developing countries. It’s not working as well as they hoped.

According to an analysis of global trade data by the nonprofit Basel Action Network, or BAN, violations of a U.N. agreement regulating the international plastic waste trade have been “rampant” over the past year. Since January 1, 2021, when new new rules were supposed to begin clamping down on countries that ship their plastic refuse abroad, the U.S., Canada, and the European Union have offloaded hundreds of millions of tons of plastic to other countries, where much of it may be landfilled, burned, or littered into the environment.

“Toxic pollution and its burden on communities and ecosystems in importing countries continues as a direct result of these multiple violations,” BAN wrote in its analysis.

The regulations in question are part of the Basel Convention, a framework designed to control the international movement of waste that is designated “hazardous.” In the years after it was first adopted in 1989, the convention covered substances such as mercury and pesticides. But in 2019, signatories to the convention agreed to add new guidance for scrapped plastic, limiting its movement between nations except under specific circumstances, effective at the beginning of 2021. For example, the convention now bans the export of unmixed, contaminated plastic waste without importing countries’ notification and consent, as well as the assurance that it will be managed in an “environmentally sound” way.

Read the full article about exporting trash by Joseph Winters at Grist.