(PM) – Malaysia will ship back of approximately 3,000 metric tons of non-recyclable plastic waste smuggled from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia to their respective countries in a move to prevent itself from becoming a dumping ground for rich countries.
Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said on Tuesday that 60 containers filled with contaminated wasted were smuggled to illegal processing facilities in Malaysia and will be shipped back to their countries of origin,
The minister continued that Malaysia and many developing countries have become new destinations of plastic waste after China banned import of plastic waste in 2018.
“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg due to the banning of plastic waste by China,” Yeo Bee Yin stated in a press conference.
“Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world … we will fight back. Even though we are a small country, we can’t be bullied by developed countries,” the Environment Minister said.
Yin said that 10 containers will be sent back within two weeks while she showed reporters contents of the waste at a port outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The contents of the waste included cables from the UK, contaminated milk cartons from Australia and CDs from Bangladesh, as well as electronic and household waste from the US, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China.
“The waste from China shown to be the waste from France and other countries that had been rerouted after Beijing’s ban,” Yin stated.
The minister also explained that over the past two years, a British recycling company has been exporting more than 50,000 metric tons of plastic waste in about 1,000 containers to Malaysia.
The Malaysian government has closed down dozens of illegal plastic recycling facilities that have spread across the country, shutting down more than 150 plants since July 2018.
The minister emphasized that China’s waste ban had opened up the eyes of the world to see that we have a huge garbage and recycling problem.
She called the developed countries to act upon their management of plastic waste and stop sending the waste out to the developing countries, stressing that such practices unfair and uncivilized.