Malaysia gets tough on plastic at ports

Westports Malaysia Malaysia is cracking down on unrecyclable plastic waste arriving through ports. Credit: Westports Malaysia

Illegal contaminated plastic discovered at Westports Malaysia on Port Klang will be sent back to its country of origin and the company which smuggled it charged.

Following a series of checks at the port by the Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment, a company smuggling the prohibited and unrecyclable plastic waste into Malaysia through shipping containers by making false declarations has been identified.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said: “The containers are declared containing clean used-plastic, but actually they contain dirty plastic. According to regulations, only clean used-plastic are allowed to be imported into the country for recycling.”

Investigation underway

“We have detected a company that exports this dirty plastic and an investigation is in progress. The company will be charged soon,” she told reporters during an enforcement operation at Westports Malaysia.

The Ministry established that 24 containers, believed to be from Spain, were found to contain dirty plastic waste at the port. Ms Yin said the Ministry will order the containers to be sent back to their country of origin by the shipping companies that brought them in. Investigations will be carried out at ports across the country.

Ms Yin said that countries including the UK, US, Australia and Germany send their waste to Malaysia, which has been taking in more plastic waste since China set strict limits on imports.

On operations against illegal plastic-recycling factories, she said checks had been conducted on 300 factories, with 148 of them ordered to either cease or suspend operations.

Last October, the Malaysian government ended the issuance of import licences for plastic waste.

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