Plastic dumping fight on world stage

PETALING JAYA: The government is making all efforts to ensure the country will no longer be the world’s dumping ground for plastic waste, says Yeo Bee Yin.

The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister said Malaysia would back an amendment to an international convention that would categorise solid plastic waste as “hazardous”.

Yeo said Malaysia hopes to push amendments to the Basel Convention (Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal) at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to impose “Prior Informed Consent” (PIC) procedures in the movement of plastic waste.

The convention begins on Monday and ends May 10.

In her Instagram post, Yeo said the PIC procedures require an exporting country to inform an importing country to obtain approval before any material is exported.

According to the Centre of International Environmental Law, solid plastic waste is now under Annex IX of the convention and is considered non-hazardous unless specific conditions apply.

The amendment seeks to omit solid plastic waste from Annex IX and include it under Annex II for it to be deemed hazardous.

The move would oblige countries exporting plastic waste to get prior consent of the receiving party.

On Tuesday, Yeo said a two-week investigation showed that plastic waste was being smuggled into Malaysia from Britain, Australia, the United States and Germany.

She said contaminated plastic was also being falsely declared so that exporters could bring it in.

Yeo said international cooperation was needed to clamp down on the global syndicates involved.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said she would support and work together with Yeo, the Customs Department and International Trade and Industry Ministry to put a stop to the illegal smuggling of plastic waste.

“The government will also use international channels via the Basel Convention to return the illegal waste to origin countries,” she said.


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