Malaysia to send back 60 containers of waste to exporters

Containers with imported plastic are seen in Port Klang May 28. 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PORT KLANG, May 28, 2019, FMT. Some 3,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste in 60 containers, illegally brought into the country, are ready to be shipped back to their countries of origin, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said today, reported the Free Malaysia Today.

She said they are among 123 containers in Port Klang which underwent a “labourious and costly” inspection process by the Department of Environment, police and port authorities.

The containers had arrived from Britain, the US, Japan, China, Spain, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Norway and France.

Yeo said 10 containers weighing 450 metric tonnes would be shipped out immediately.

“These containers were illegally brought into the country under false declarations and other offences which clearly violate our environmental laws,” she told the press today.

Giving an example, Yeo said a recycling company in Britain had exported more than 1,000 containers amounting to over 50,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste.

“We have found a few companies from different countries. We are compiling a list of these so-called recycling companies and will send the list to their respective governments for further action.”

She urged developed countries to review the management of their plastic waste and to stop using developing countries as dumpsites for their garbage.

“If they ship it to Malaysia, we will return it,” she said, adding that it was “unfair and uncivilised” to dump garbage in other countries.

She also warned Malaysians working with companies in the importation of waste, saying they were committing treason as their action was harmful to public health.

Yeo said the cost of sending back the waste will be borne by the importer as provided under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, failing which Malaysia will invoke the Basel Convention, where the cost will be borne by the exporter.

“Malaysia will not be a dumping ground for the world. We will continue to work hard to make sure that whoever sends their waste to Malaysia, we will send it back.

“We cannot be bullied by developed countries,” she added.

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