Malaysia tells developed nations to deal with their own trash

The nation of Malaysia is sick and tired of being a dumping ground for the developed world’s trash, so leaders have decided to ship it back to them.

Recycling companies in nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and China among others often send plastic waste to Malaysia for disposal instead of actually recycling it in order to cut costs.

As a result, Malaysia’s own once-pristine environment is being strangled by garbage that is causing the destruction of ecosystems.

For the last six years, 450 metric tons of plastic waste from Canada alone has been sitting in a Malaysian port awaiting recycling by a company that doesn’t do what it advertised.

And so, Yeo Bee Yin, the minister of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change has announced that all shipping containers filled with other nation’s trash will be stamped “return to sender” so those countries will have to deal with their own waste.

“Malaysia won’t continue to be a dumping ground for the developed nations and those responsible for destroying our ecosystem with these illegal activities are traitors,” she said. “We view the perpetrators of this act as traitors to the country’s sustainability and therefore they should be stopped and brought to justice.”

‘Recycling’ factories can be found all around Malaysia, but don’t actually recycle the waste sent to them. They merely take the money and run.

The trash just piles up and contaminates rivers and harbors and becomes a hazard on land that kills wildlife and litters an environment that nobody wants to see because it’s no longer as pristine as in the past.

Yin went on to further criticize developed nations for causing environmental issues in her country and even called one out by name.

“Developed countries like UK always prioritize recycling and its people follow suit, but they do not realize these wastes are dumped in our country,” she said. “For example, we know about one company in UK that sends waste to Malaysia and this company is responsible for 1,000 containers or roughly 50,000 metric tons of plastic waste. This practice is unfair and uncivilized, which is why we urge developed countries to reevaluate their waste disposal methods and stop shipping garbage to other countries. If they continue to ship garbage here, we will not hesitate to return it back.”

That’s exactly what Maylasia is doing with the 450 metric tons from Canada. And the recycling companies in those countries that cut corners to save money will also find themselves reported to the relevant government authorities, who will likely level punishments because regulations are tighter in those countries.

“As a party to the Basel Convention, Malaysia imposes strict requirements in line with the Article 4(11) of the Convention for all importation of mixed plastic waste to ensure that any transboundary movements are conducted in a manner which will protect human health and the environment,” Yin said, referring to the United Nations treaty signed in 1989.

Yin also invoked her own government’s Environment Quality Act of 1974.

So, hundreds of thousands or even millions of metric tons of plastic waste is about to be sent back to the countries of origin from whence it came and will have to take responsibility for it themselves now and in the future instead of shipping it to a country far away and pretending the trash no longer exists.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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