IPOH, May 27 — The Perak Department of Environment (DOE) today denied a BBC report that alleged plastic waste from the UK, marked for recycling, was imported for dumping in the state.
Director Norazizi Adinan said the waste was actually kept in a premise that processes plastic.
“It is operating at IGB Industrial Park here,” he said in a WhatsApp message to Malay Mail.
Norazizi said the premise was operating legally and it is licensed by the Ipoh City Council.
“DOE monitors the premises operations to ensure it adheres to the Environment Quality Act 1974,” he added.
He was commenting on a report by UK tabloid Daily Mail Online, written based on an upcoming documentary by UK state broadcaster BBC, that claimed 6m-high plastic waste — including trash from British supermarkets and local council recycling departments — has been dumped in Perak.
Daily Mail claimed that the waste stretching as far as the eye can see can be found in a “Malaysian jungle” near the town of Perak capital Ipoh. There are no jungles near Ipoh.
Malay Mail learned that representatives of the portal were brought to the site by non-governmental organisation Greenpeace.
Saying the report was inaccurate, Norazizi said the recycling company implicated in the plastic waste dump did not contravene any law.
“It also adhere(s) to our requirements and we do monitor it periodically,” he added, noting that the department would not hesitate to take action if the company was found to have run foul against the Environment Quality Act 1974.
While Daily Mail did not name the site where the trash was found nor the company involved, Resourceco Asia (M) Sdn Bhd has admitted it was the company judging from the footage seen in the video.
Its operations director, K. Muralindran, said the plastic is recycled to process engineered fuel that is sold to cement companies, which use it for their operations to replace coal.
“We get the supply of plastic from 50 local recyclers and as far as we are concerned, the plastics are sourced locally,” he said, adding that his company receives at least 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste monthly.
Muralindran said the company sends monthly reports to DOE and the department also conducts checks at the premises.
“What we are doing is actually helping the environment. If we do not take in the plastics, it would be sent to landfill which creates more waste,” he added.
Muralindran did not discount the possibility that the footage in the portal’s video was obtained during a trespassing incident last year.
“A group of men, four Caucasian and three locals, came in a van and broke into our collection premise. They declined to hear our side of the story when we invited them to our office after we spotted them lurking in our collection premise,” he said, noting that the company had lodged a police report over the December 14 incident.
He also pointed out that their factory is not located in the jungle.
Meanwhile, state Education, Science, Environment and Green Technology Committee chairman Abdul Aziz Bari did not discount the possibility that recycling operators are moving to Perak after Selangor clamped down on plastic recycling.
“I am not aware about it until a friend forwarded me the Daily Mail report,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after attending a bubur lambuk cooking event held at the state Education Department here, Aziz said the matter had tarnished the state’s image.