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KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry will launch a “full force” crackdown on illegal plastic waste, Yeo Bee Yin vowed today.
According to The Star, the minister told a press conference in Klang today that containers full of such waste have been discovered being smuggled into Malaysia disguised as other goods.
“Malaysia will not be the dumping ground of the world,” Yeo was quoted as saying.
“We will send back (the waste) to the original countries.”
The minister said they will also focus efforts on discovering the origin countries for the smuggled plastic waste as the problem must be nipped at the source.
Companies and agents found to be involved in the smuggling will also lose their licences with the government, she added.
Malaysia became a major destination for the world’s recyclable plastic waste after China stopped accepting such refuse last year.
In 2018, Malaysia received hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste from the UK, Australia and the US, among others.
However, such waste is rarely recycled due to the true costs involved and is typically incinerated illegally as part of a growing global problem that is being exposed.
After the problem was uncovered, the government responded by imposing a RM15 levy for each metric tonne of plastic waste imported and temporarily halted the issuance of approved permits to bring in such material until October last year.