Govt shutters 30 illegal plastic recycling plants as Malaysia draws waste from abroad

Yeo said she was aware of the public complaints and has taken stern efforts to curb illegal plastic recycling factories. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Yeo said she was aware of the public complaints and has taken stern efforts to curb illegal plastic recycling factories. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — In its efforts to ensure that Malaysia does not end up as the “developed nations’ plastic trash bin” the government has shut down more than 30 illegal plastic recycling factories.

Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin told Dewan Rakyat today that she was aware of the public complaints and has taken stern efforts to curb illegal plastic recycling factories.

“More than 30 illegal plastic recycling factories processing imported plastic wastes have been shut down. I was on the ground together with government agencies and we did not just shut them down we also cut their electricity, water supply and arrested the factory owners.

“I’ve instructed the Environmental Department to haul as many of these illegal (plastic factory) owners to court. We have seen the impact of uncontrolled plastic imports from January to June but since then, we have frozen all plastic waste imports.

“We are also monitoring the situation to ensure that no more illegal factories will open up,” said Yeo during the question and answer session today.

At the same time a joint ministry committee headed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry and involving the Land and Natural Resources Department, International Trade and Industries Ministry and Mestecc has been formed to study the next steps regarding plastic wastes.

In Sabah, Yeo’s ministry has also frozen all recycling centre licenses until the newly formed committee has made a decision regarding plastic waste.

The Bakri MP continued explaining that there various grades of plastic wastes from clean, biodegradable plastics which are recycle friendly to the contaminated mixed waste type which are non-biodegradable.

“My ministry is committed to ensure that non-recycled plastic wastes will be illegal in Malaysia. We are also reviewing the (Environment) Act to improve our enforcement and the draft will be tabled next year in Parliament,” said Yeo.