7 countries that shook up our planet in 2018

(Eco Business, 8 Dec 2018) From China’s ban on foreign waste imports to Vanuatu’s plan to take fossil fuel firms to court, this year saw countries toughen their national and foreign policies to tackle the world’s biggest social and environmental problems.

As the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned, it now takes a colossal and collective effort to save the world from climate doom and prevent countries from drowning in their own (and imported) plastic waste.

This year, countries made major moves that had a significant impact on the world’s progress in keeping global warming below 1.5 °C and tackling the most critical sustainability issues of our time, such as plastic pollution, disaster mitigation and food security.

Here are seven countries that took on the world’s biggest sustainability challenges in 2018.

1. Malaysia

In September, Malaysia announced that it aims to eliminate single-use plastic by 2030, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to take bold action against plastic pollution. Its weapons in the plastic battle include a nationwide charge on plastic bags and a market for environmentally-friendly alternatives. A month later, the country moved to restrict imports of plastic that had led to the rise of illegal recycling plants across the region after China’s waste ban in January.

The new government also has the region cheering for its appointment of Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s newly minted Minister of Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment. A few months into office, she exercised her power to bust the country’s long dependency on fossil fuels, cancelling four independent energy contracts this year that would have otherwise gone to coal companies. The country’s youngest female minister in cabinet is also ready to take legal arms against Australian company Lynas for their accumulation of radioactive waste within their Malaysian operations. 

External link

Eco Business, 8 Dec 2018: 7 countries that shook up our planet in 2018