Malaysia has sent back 150 shipping containers of plastic waste to rich countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Canada, insisting it won't be the "garbage dump" of the world.
Of the 150 containers, 43 were returned to France, 42 to the United Kingdom, 17 to the United States, 11 to Canada, 10 to Spain and the rest to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Lithuania.
Malaysia emerged as a major target of illegal waste
The country has been inundated with shipments of illegal plastic waste since 2018 when China cracked down on a large recycling industry.
Malaysia subsequently emerged as a major target of illegal waste trafficking. A recent Greenpeace report found that during the first seven months of 2018, plastic waste exported from the US to Malaysia more than doubled compared with the previous year.
But its government has attempted to tackle the reputation and has returned shipments of waste in the past.
Malaysia is not the dumping site of the world: Yeo Bee Yin
“If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on,” Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin told media.
She said another 110 containers are expected to be sent back by the middle of this year.
She further added the government will launch an action plan on illegal plastic importation next month that will help the different agencies coordinate enforcement and speed up the process of returning the waste.
“Our position is very firm. We just want to send back (the waste) and we just want to give a message that Malaysia is not the dumping site of the world,” she said.