THE government’s decision to send imported plastic waste back to countries of origin is commendable and should be supported (“DOE gets tough on e-waste”, The Star, May 30; online at bit.ly/star_dump).
It is also in line with the government’s ban on the import of plastic waste and proposed amendment of the law to make it mandatory to send electronic waste (e-waste) to licensed recyclers.
At the same time, it will send a strong message to the world that Malaysia will not tolerate this again.
I hope the government will investigate how such waste could land on our soil and take stern action against those who breached the law by importing such items and enforcement agencies’ staff who were in cohorts with them.
According to Greenpeace, Malaysia imported more than 754,000 tonnes of plastic waste from January to June of 2018.
The authorities must also take stern action against those who are involved in importing, storing or processing illegal plastic waste and e-waste and revoke their business licenses immediately.
The public must alert the authorities if they see piles of such waste or burning plastic.
Water runoff and leachate from waste processing facilities and dumpsites contain toxic chemicals that could harm the environment and human health.
Although Malaysia has banned the import of plastic scrap since last year, companies can still apply for approved permits (APs) to import clean plastic – beware, as the APs could be exploited to import contaminated plastic waste.
We have to ban the import of plastic waste as studies show that without foreign garbage, Malaysia already produces 0.94 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic wastes, of which 0.14 to 0.37 million tonnes may have been washed into the oceans.
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report by the United Nations University, Malaysia generated 280 kilotonnes of e-waste in 2016 – 8.8kg of e-waste per person.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
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