Malaysia has sent back 150 containers of plastic waste to 13 predominantly rich countries since the third quarter last year, with the environment minster warning Jan. 20 that those who want to make the country a global waste bin can “dream on.”
Shipments of unwanted trash have been rerouted to Southeast Asia since China banned the import of plastic waste in 2018, but Malaysia and other developing countries are fighting back.
Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the successful repatriation of a total of 3,737 metric tons of waste followed strict enforcement at key Malaysian ports to block smuggling of waste and the shuttering of more than 200 illegal plastic recycling factories.
She said the Malaysian government didn’t pay a single cent, with the costs of sending back the waste fully borne by the shipping liners and importers. Yeo added that another 110 containers are expected to be sent back by the middle of this year.
Of the 150 containers, 43 were returned to France, 42 to the United Kingdom, 17 to the United States, and the rest to Canada, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Lithuania, her ministry said. Yeo said Malaysia was talking with U.S. authorities to send back another 60 containers.
Of the 110 remaining containers still at Malaysian ports, Japan has 14.
“If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you (can) dream on,” Yeo told reporters during inspection at a Penang port. (AP)