Ministry: UK agrees to take back 42 import containers of plastic waste from Malaysia

An excavator is seen clearing piles of plastic at an illegal recycling site in Jenjarom, Banting March 26, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
An excavator is seen clearing piles of plastic at an illegal recycling site in Jenjarom, Banting March 26, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Ministry today said that the United Kingdom (UK) has agreed to repatriate 42 containers comprising illegal shipments of plastic waste from Malaysia.

MESTECC said that the announcement came following a recent visit to Malaysia by the UK’s Environment Agency (EA) organised by the British High Commission in response to news of the illegal shipment of plastic waste from the UK. 

The EA then held a series of meetings with relevant stakeholders in Malaysia to enhance both parties’ understanding of the regulatory framework and policies related to trade in plastic waste, as well as an exchange of knowledge in sharing intelligence, inspection procedures, identification and repatriation of plastic waste.

Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin commended the efforts of the British High Commission proactive action in repatriating the illegal plastic waste import containers.

“We hope the co-operation and understanding between Malaysia and United Kingdom will set an example for other countries with companies exporting contaminated plastic waste to other developing nations,” said Yeo in the statement.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said the UK Government looks forward to working with Malaysia on efforts of environmental conservatism and addressing climate change.

“The UK Government shares the same concerns as the Malaysian Government on the issue of plastic waste.   

“We look forward to working with Malaysia on the broader agenda of conserving the environment and addressing climate change, particularly with the UK becoming the joint chair of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) next year,” he said.

The 42 containers, which had arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019, were deemed illegal as they failed to comply with the necessary import papers.

The containers are being repatriated under the Basel Convention, an international treaty that will help Malaysia restrict the import of such wastes from other countries more effectively.

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