Malaysia will send back non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Malaysia to send back plastic waste to foreign nations

PORT KLANG, Malaysia — Malaysia will send back some 3,000 metric tons (3,300 tons) of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations, Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Tuesday.

Yeo said Malaysia and many developing countries have become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year. She said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste were smuggled in en route to illegal processing facilities in the country and will be sent back to their countries of origin.

Ten of the containers are due to be shipped back within two weeks, she said, as she showed reporters contents of the waste at a port outside Kuala Lumpur.

The displayed items included cables from the U.K., contaminated milk cartons from Australia and compact discs from Bangladesh, as well as bales of electronic and household waste from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China. Yeo said the waste from China appeared to be garbage from France and other countries that had been rerouted after a ban imposed by China.

In one case alone, Yeo said a U.K. recycling company exported more than 50,000 metric tons (55,000 tons) of plastic waste in about 1,000 containers to Malaysia over the past two years.

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg (due) to the banning of plastic waste by China,” Yeo told a news 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 government has clamped down on dozens of illegal plastic recycling facilities that had mushroomed across the country, shuttering more than 150 plants since last July. Earlier this month, the government also sent back five containers of waste to Spain.

Yeo said China’s plastic waste ban had “opened up the eyes of the world to see that we have a huge garbage and recycling problem.”

Citizens in rich nations diligently separate their waste for recycling but the garbage ended up being dumped in developing nations where they are recycled illegally, causing environmental and health hazards, she said.

“We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping the garbage out to the developing countries,” she said, calling such practices “unfair and uncivilized.”

Yeo vowed to take action against Malaysian companies illegally importing used plastic, calling them “traitors to the country’s sustainability.”

By The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-day rainfall wasn’t a record breaker for Red Deer

Last week’s two-day rainfall in Red Deer wasn’t a record breaker, but… Continue reading

Donald School of Business is returning to college’s main campus

Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business is moving back to the… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

David Marsden: Jason Kenney is all hat, no cattle

There are few character failings more unappealing than those of people who… Continue reading

Ontario used auto dealers expect tough year ahead, prices already down

Ontario used auto dealers expect tough year ahead, prices already down

Toronto stock market rally led by cannabis while U.S. stock markets closed

Toronto stock market rally led by cannabis while U.S. stock markets closed

Online games could be source of money laundering, B.C. public inquiry hears

Online games could be source of money laundering, B.C. public inquiry hears

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Global warming critics find themselves under attack

Re: “Tropical storms offer glimpse of our evolving environment,” Gwynne Dyer, Opinion,… Continue reading

Scheer has quickly made a hash of Harper’s legacy

By the time Andrew Scheer hands over the Conservative party to a… Continue reading

Most Read