China’s decision to stop importing recycled waste by 2019 from Australia will have the most impact in Western Australia, as the country serves as the largest market for the state’s exports of recycled waste.
As a result, it would raise fees for household waste recycling in Western Australia, while particularly driving down recycling rates in Perth.
Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said that the state government will hold eight workshops in different places, including in Port Hedland. The workshops will begin in Perth on February 1. These will teach residents about waste recycling and reduction. Dawson said that a reduced amount of dumped waste on landfills presents economic opportunities.
While Dawson considers the regional workshops to be useful, he remains concerned with China’s decision to stop importing recycled waste. The move will affect prices for recycling materials in the state. If costs increase, it may hinder the state’s progress in implementing reforms in waste management.
Other Environmental Issues
Aside from finding alternatives to recycled waste management, the state government will have to address the growing problem of water supply.
In Perth, for instance, households have consumed 340 litres per person per day compared to 166 litres in Melbourne and 194 litres in south-east Queensland, according to a Monash University study. Associate Professor Jo Lindsay attributed the consumption rate to access from desalination plants and groundwater.
Population growth, however, could threaten these resources if the current consumption level continues in the future. Therefore, residents should make the most of rainwater by installing slimline tanks at home. Rainwater harvesting has become a popular method in the country, especially in regions where drought has manifested its full impact in previous years.
Western Australia needs to act soon on what it plans to do after China bans imports of recycled waste, while residents should do their part on waste and water management to help the government’s initiatives.