France agrees to take back 43 illegal waste containers from Malaysia

James Marshall
January 21, 2020

Malaysia has returned 150 containers of plastic waste, including 42 to the United Kingdom, since late a year ago, its environment minister revealed on Monday, warning that the South East Asian nation would not become the "world's dumpster".

The country has been inundated with shipments of illegal plastic waste since 2018, when China cracked down on a large recycling industry.

She said another 110 containers, including 60 from the United States, 15 from Canada and 14 from Japan, were waiting to be shipped back.

Malaysia has begun the arduous diplomatic process of returning thousands of tonnes of illegal plastic trash to their exporting countries, amid ongoing operations at the three main ports of Klang, Penang and Sarawak.

Yeo said the successful repatriation of a total of 3,737 tons of waste followed strict enforcement in major Malaysian ports to block smuggling of waste and close more than 200 illegal plastic recycling plants.

Two countries accounted for more than half the number of containers - France (43) and Britain (42).

The UK Environment Agency said the returned waste was the responsibility of the private companies that exported it and it must be handled according to UK regulations. "The costs were either borne by the exporters or shipping liners", Ms Yeo told the news conference. We are not supposed to pay them to send it back.

Malaysia is refusing to turn into the world's dumping ground amid growing disposal needs, the AP reports.

"The government of Malaysia is taking stern action to combat the illegal movement of plastic waste into Malaysia by stopping the movement at the source, which is at the ports", Yeo continued.

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

Yeo Bee Yin said the 150 containers, found across the country's three main ports were shipped out between the second half of previous year and Friday. They join China, the Philippines and Indonesia in returning imported waste to other countries in recent years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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