South Korea is looking to reduce waste incineration that is currently a common way to produce energy in the country. But cutting the practice short has also caused problems – for example trash piling up in illegal or semi-illegal dumps, which have at time spontaneously bust into flames.
The government tightened air pollution regulations in 2017 to reduce smog, which also affected garbage incineration plants. Their number fell from 611 in 2011 to 395 in 2018. South Korea is trying to reduce the problematic incineration of waste to 30 percent of renewables by 2035, making their renewable energy sector more deserving of its title. Instead, wind energy, photovoltaics and thermal energy are supposed to play a larger part.
Initially, excess garbage caused by the new regulations was exported to China, but since the country has also tightened regulations on the import of foreign waste, a lot of Korean trash has nowhere to go, making illegal and semi-illegal dumping popular.