Malaysia will not become world's dumping ground, minister says

James Marshall
January 20, 2020

"Enforcement action was taken on containers which contained plastic waste imported illegally", she said, citing the Basel Convention, an worldwide treaty created to restrict movements of hazardous wastes between nations.

The plastic waste did not have import permits and did not meet the criteria for importing plastic waste under the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

Officials said shipments have now been returned to 13 countries, including Japan.

They also said they struggled to identify the country of origin of the containers, as many lay abandoned at the ports.

"The cost of returning back the containers of plastic waste was borne by the importers or shipping companies". The highest number, 43, were transported to France.

The containers were sent to 13 countries, with 43 returned to France, 42 to Britain, 17 to the U.S. and 11 to Canada.

Meanwhile, Yeo said the government would launch the HS Code 3915 next month to standardised enforcement procedure in the field by the relevant agencies.

She said from the total, 60 containers were from the United States, Canada (15), Japan (14), the United Kingdom (nine), Belgium (eight) and other countries.

"We don't want to pay a single cent", the minister said.

"If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on", Ms Yeo told reporters during inspection at a port in northern Penang state.

She added that a total of 393 plastic recycling factories were inspected previous year and 218 were shut down for not following regulations.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the containers of plastic waste, mainly from developed countries, were shipped back at no financial cost to the government.

The country now accepts only recyclable plastics, but officials say illegal dumping and smuggling continues.

Malaysia has sent back 150 containers of plastic waste to 13 mainly rich countries since the third quarter past year, with the environment minster warning on Monday that those who want to make the country a rubbish bin of the world can "dream on".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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