As much as 3,300 tonnes of plastic waste will be sent back from Malaysia to the countries it came from, according to the Minister for Environment Yeo Bee Yin.
The plastic was thrown away by citizens of at least 14 origin countries, including France, Britain, the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.
“Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world … we will fight back,” Yeo Bee Yin told a news conference. “Even though we are a small country, we can’t be bullied by developed countries.”
The countries who throw away this plastic, confirms the minister, believe it is going to be recycled. The reality however, is that the much of the waste of these prosperous countries is dumped across Southeast Asia.
One U.K. company alone exported more than 55,000 tons of plastic waste to Malaysia in the past two years.
“So, what the citizen of the UK believe that they sent for recycling is actually dumped in our country” said Yeo Bee Yin.
“This is something that is very serious” she continued “we have found a few companies from different countries.”
Since China disrupted the flow of more than 7 million tonnes of rubbish by banning its import last year, Malaysia became the world’s primary host for foreign waste.
Since then, dozens of so-called ‘recycling companies’ have emerged in the country, many of whom operate without licenses.
“Malaysians like any other developing country have a right to clean air, clean water, sustainable resources and clean environment to live in, just like citizens of developed nations a right to clean environment to live in, just like citizens of developed nations” said Yeo Bee Yin.
The UN predicts that millions of premature deaths will fall upon regions in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa by the mid-century unless drastic environmental protection is implemented.