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Complete ban of imported plastic waste

  • We should impose a complete ban on imported solid waste because we have no obligation to help the West solve their problems. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

The Daily Telegraph reported that recycled waste from the UK and other Western countries may end up being dumped in developing countries like Malaysia, following the ban of imported plastic waste by China.

The UK exported more than 88,000 tons of plastic waste -- almost a quarter of total waste export -- to Malaysia during the first eight months of this year.

As for the US, 150,000 tons of waste was exported to Malaysia during the first half of 2018.

As a matter of fact, many of our recycling plants are operating illegally and may not have the ability to handle this amount of imported waste. As a result, environmental contamination shunned by the Westerners is very much a reality here in Malaysia.

Selangor's Jenjarom is one such place plagued by the existence of imported waste. Both the federal and state governments have taken actions after receiving complaints from the local residents. Unfortunately, they have not done enough and are even seen as being a little too tolerant.

The housing and local government ministry has announced to freeze the permit for waste import until end of October, and will be imposing a permit levy of RM15 for every ton of imported waste after that.

However, according to the ministry of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change, legal operators in the country are capable of processing imported waste into high quality recycled plastic products, but the government will completely ban the import of low-quality mixed plastic waste.

Malaysians create some 33,000 tons of solid waste every day, more than what we can handle actually. The imported plastic waste will only aggravate this problem.

We should address our domestic waste issue first instead of importing waste from other developed countries.

Moreover, the ability of local recycling plants, legal or illegal, is highly questionable. From the images of recycling plants available, we can see that many of them are totally helpless in the face of massive amounts of garbage, thanks to their below-par recycling techniques and management practices.

The government will set up a multi-departmental committee to ensure that the imported waste contains no mixed contaminants. But, do we have adequate manpower and technology to identify the content of imported waste?

China has imposed a complete ban of imported plastic waste to protect the country's environment as well as its citizens' health. Such waste might contain dangerous and toxic contaminants which very often skip the inspection of the exporting countries. It is because of such irresponsible attitude that China has decided to act, because the country has no obligation to bear the responsibility on behalf of the West.

China will apply its own resources and technology on processing domestic waste, which is definitely better for the country's economic development as well as environment protection.

We should emulate the Chinese and impose a total ban on imported solid waste because we too have no obligation to help the West solve their problems.



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