IPOH: It is not within the jurisdiction of the Perak Environment Department to ascertain where companies source for plastic waste, which is then sent to a recycling company here.
Its state director, Norazizi Adinan, said the department's duty in the state was to ensure that the deal was done legally, and that no toxic or hazardous materials were transported here.
He said the recycling company in question, Resourceco Asia (M) Sdn Bhd, operated according to the law, and that every month the department received an inventory of the 50 firms that supply plastic waste to the recycling company to be turned into processed engineered fuel.
"We not only get the names of the companies supplying the waste, but we also get a list of the weight and mass from Resourceco.
"The 50 companies that send the recyclables are not all from Perak, and if the plastics are brought in from other countries, then that is under the jurisdiction of the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Customs Department," he told reporters at the waste storage area at the IGB Industrial Area in Tasek here.
Present at the site visit were state Environment Committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari and the company's (Resourceco) managing director Pavel Cech.
A British news website had recently claimed that plastic waste was dumped in Malaysia from overseas.
The Daily Mail Online quoted a BBC trailer from a three-part documentary that showed celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall discovering mountains of plastic waste from Britain intended for recycling, but was instead dumped in Malaysia.
The chef had apparently found plastic packaging of well-known British brands among the trash.
Abdul Aziz said the site was a temporarily storage area for the materials, and what was reported by the foreign media was not accurate.
He said the media representatives failed to get an explanation from the company, and reported a one-sided news piece, probably to put pressure on their government on the export of plastics.
"So what we see at the site is legal, and the company is in the midst of constructing a new storage area which is expected to be completed by year end," he added.
Cech added that all materials stored at the site was only temporary, as a new warehouse was being constructed at the fuel production plant some 800m away from the site.
He said all the raw plastic and rubber waste materials is used for the production of the alternative fuel to be sold to cement factories.
"While our warehouse is still under construction, we still do run production to ensure a zero waste solution to local industries.
"Thus, we need to store the materials somewhere, and with the knowledge of the department (Environment), this site is being used temporarily," he said.
On the questions if the materials received were imported, Cech said the company has only been sourcing for plastic waste from locally registered companies.
He said the company also worked with other local plastic recycling sectors.
"These other companies have been recycling plastics, and sometimes due to its plastic colour, composition, and so on, the materials are sometimes non-recyclable, and thus sent to us to be converted into fuel.
"However, we cannot bear any responsibility for the source used by local recycling companies, as it is not up to our company to judge their selection of raw materials," he added.