BUTTERWORTH: The Penang government is eager to get rid of 397 containers filled with plastic waste at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) here.
Discussions were ongoing with the relevant agencies on plans to send the containers back to the countries of origin, said Penang Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
He said a proposal on the next course of action would be submitted to the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry for approval tomorrow.
“We are still discussing details of the proposal before submitting it to the ministry,” he said yesterday.
It was reported on May 31 that 265 cargo containers filled with rotting food, organic matter and plastic waste were stranded at the NBCT.
On June 15, Penang Customs uncovered another 132 containers filled with plastic waste at the same terminal.
The containers were shipped in from various countries such as Britain, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan. Each 40-foot container carries about 10 to 15 tonnes.
Meanwhile, Penang Customs Department director Datuk Saidi Ismail said they had issued 130 container owners with RM1,000 compound each.
However, none of the compounds had been settled yet.
“We will track them down and charge them in court,” he said.
In October last year, the Housing and Local Government Ministry issued a ban on the import of plastic waste.
Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said a circular was issued to all local councils, especially in Selangor and Penang, to shut down all illegal plastic processing factories.
China banned plastic imports earlier last year, leading to a huge impact on the global recycling system.
This led to a number of Chinese companies relocating their operations to Malaysia, with some setting up shops here as soon as the Chinese government announced the ban in 2017.
In late May, Malaysia said it would send back 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to 14 countries of origin, including Canada, the United States, Japan, France, Australia and Britain.