Malaysia to return waste from Australia, US and more

Malaysia to return waste from Australia, US and more
Minister Yeo Bee Yin stands beside a container van filled with plastic waste. Photo: YouTube @CNA

Malaysian minister says 450 metric tonnes of contaminated plastic waste will be shipped back from the countries of origin. This is in an act of refusal to become a garbage dump for developing countries.

According to minister Yeo Bee Yin, the nine shipping containers carrying the 950 tons of trash came from Australia, US, UK, Bangladesh, China, Japan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. Five containers of garbage have been returned to Spain back in April.

Minister Yeo Bee Yin is in charge of energy, science, technology and climate change in Malaysia. In a press conference, Yeo urged the developed countries like US and UK to “review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries”.

In an effort to halt the issue of illegal plastic waste imports in Malaysia, the country has launched joint task force operations since April 24.

Another Southeast Asian country that has been on the receiving end of these illegally exported plastic waste is the Philippines. Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he was prepared to “declare war” on Canada after the country failed to take back tons of waste back on May 15. The Canadian government has since responded to the issue taking full responsibility by covering the full expenses of the return operation before June ends.

Malaysia, along with 187 other countries has come to an agreement with adding plastic to the Basel Convention. It is a treaty regulating the shipping of hazardous materials from country to country. The treaty was issued to address the world’s growing problem of plastic pollution.