Malaysia will return 450 metric tons of mislabeled plastic and non-recyclable waste to the countries that shipped it; nine shipping containers were found this week to contain contaminated plastic waste from the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Singapore, according to a Malaysia official.
Malaysia is cracking down on illegal plastic waste imports. Since the end of April, when a task force was launched to tackle the problem, the country has carried out 10 operations to return waste to originating countries, writes CNN.
Plastic waste exported from the US to Malaysia more than doubled in the first seven months of 2018 compared to the previous year, a recent Greenpeace report found. Malaysia is among a number of countries experiencing a dramatic increase in waste imports following China’s ban of plastic waste imports last year.
The Malaysian government has cracked down on illegal plastic waste recycling facilities in the last year, but many still contain “huge volumes of imported plastic waste,” Greenpeace reported. “The plastic is burned on roadsides in the open-air, dumped in unregulated or poorly regulated dump sites close to bodies of water, discarded in abandoned buildings or just left to degrade and rot in the open.”
Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s minister of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change, urges developed countries to “review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries.”
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