by SHAZNI ONG / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government will send back 3,000 metric tonnes (MT) of plastic waste stored in 60 containers to their countries of origin, including Bangladesh, as Malaysia continues to be the dumping ground of the environmentally damaging chemical byproducts.
Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin said 450MT in 10 containers will be sent back within the next fortnight and the importers of the waste had been notified yesterday.
Meanwhile, the remaining 50 containers, which were brought in illegally, are being inspected by the authorities.
“Garbage is traded under the pretext of recycling. Malaysians are forced to suffer poor air quality due to open burning of plastics which leads to health hazard, polluted rivers, illegal landfills and a host of other related problems.
“We will continue to weed out the imports of contaminated plastic waste. These containers were illegally brought into the country under false declaration and other offences which clearly violates our environmental law,” she said
after inspecting nine cargo containers filled with plastics and other waste products originated from various countries at Westports, Port Klang, yesterday.
The waste will be sent back to Australia, the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China and Bangladesh. MESTECC’s Department of Environment (DoE) has inspected 123 containers from the UK, the US, Japan, China, Spain, Canada and Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bangladesh and France.
Yeo said the Cabinet on April 4, gave her ministry the mandate to form a special taskforce with other agencies to curb the menace.
“Since July last year, the DoE has conducted massive crackdowns on the influx of imported contaminated plastic waste, acting against illegal and non-compliant plastic processing factories.
“In March, the DoE extended its enforcement in joint operations with various agencies to inspect containers filled with plastic waste at Port Klang,” she said.
The joint operation was led by the DoE, together with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, Royal Malaysian Police, Port Klang Authority, National Solid Waste Management Department and Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd.