Malaysia has announced it will send 3,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable plastic back to developed nations that illegally shipped it there, drawing a line in the sand and highlighting the world’s major waste problem.
Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste would be sent back from illegal processing facilities in Malaysia following a major government clampdown in recent months.
“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,” Yeo said, as cited by the AP.
The Malaysian government has shut down over 150 illegal recycling facilities since last July.
Among the countries responsible for the waste, showcased at a press conference held by Yeo, were: the UK (cables), the US, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China (electronic and household waste) and Australia (contaminated milk cartons) among other nations.
The vast trash troves will be shipped within two weeks from a port outside Kuala Lumpur.
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The build-up of waste and the creation of a major illegal recycling industry in the country are a knock-on effect of China’s ban on the importation of plastic waste earlier this year.
“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg (due) to the banning of plastic waste by China,” Yeo added.
“We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping the rubbish out to the developing countries.”
In another high profile case, the Philippines and Canada have also been embroiled in a long-raging row over illegal dumping for several years.
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