Malaysia Would No Longer Be ''Dumping Ground'' For World's Garbage

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source: Pixabay

Malaysia is no longer going to be a ''dumping ground'' for the world's wealthiest nations, Yeo Bee Yin, minister of energy, science, technology, environment, and climate change announced Tuesday.

The country will ship back 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste to their source countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, among others.

According to the local government, these countries dumped their non-recyclable garbage illegally in Malaysia and other neighboring countries after China banned plastic waste import last year.

The authorities in the capital city Kuala Lumpur found nine shipping containers at the nearby Port Klang which contained mislabeled plastic and recyclable waste. 

Minister Yeo Bee Yin pointed out that the containers were full of cables from the United Kingdom, milk cartons from Australia, as well as compact discs from Bangladesh. 

In addition to that, it was mixed with electronic and household waste from other developed countries, including Japan, Canada, and the United States. 

A recent Greenpeace report concluded that the US garbage export to Malaysia in the first seven months of 2018 more than doubled compared to the same period in 2017.

Malaysian government statistics echoed the Greenpeace report, adding that a UK recycling company had transported over 50,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable waste in 1,000 containers in the last two years.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Yeo highlighted that although Malaysia is a small country, it cannot be bullied by its more developed counterparts. 

Yeo also urged the developed countries to review their plastic waste management policies and stop shipping their dangerous waste overseas, as, in her words, it is ''unfair and uncivilized.''

Malaysia's refusal to keep the plastic waste of the Western countries comes a month after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte also threatened to return 69 garbage containers filled with household and electronic waste to Canada. The state did not manage to meet Duterte's deadline to take its garbage back by May 15.

Furthermore, Duterte rejected the amended Canada's plan according to which the French shipping firm Bollore Logistics would transport the garbage containers back to Canada by the end of June. Duterte would look for another solution to transport unwanted Canadian waste.

The spokesperson for the President confirmed he had recalled Philippines' ambassador and consul. 

In 2018, the governments of 187 nations, including Malaysia, signed the Basel Convention to regulate the transport and movement of hazardous materials from one country to another, to combat the adverse effects of plastic pollution on the environment.

What do you think?  Do you support or oppose the idea that the wealthiest nations should reconsider their waste management policies?