Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said that Malaysia won’t be the garbage dump of the world. The nation has sent back 150 containers of waste back to the rich countries. Malaysia has been overwhelmed with shipments of unwanted garbage since 2018 when China refused import of any plastic. The developing countries have been a target of illegal import and export of garbage. However, they are fighting back against the rich and developed nations. The garbage has been sent back to mainly 13 countries including the UK, US, France and Canada.
Major countries involved
Out of the total 150 containers, France took 43 containers, United Kingdom took 42, Canada took 11, Spain took 10 and the remaining are sent to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, China, Bangladesh, Portugal and Sri Lanka. Yeo said in her statement that she ordered 3,737 metric tons of trash to be returned to these 12 countries. She also added that they want to give a message about how Malaysia is not a dumping site of the world.
Cost for transporting back the garbage
The Malaysian government did not pay a single penny. The responsible countries are covering all expenses. “They(other countries) have to be responsible about this as it is not just about the environment but also about the dignity of Malaysia,” said Yeo. The Malaysian government closed more than 150 illegal plastic recycling factories. However, smuggling of the garbage still continued as it was entering the nation under false labels.
Contaminated plastic waste which cannot be recycled and has to be dump causes a lot of harm to the environment. However, this problem increased when China banned the import of plastics. This resulted in the diversion of the route to South-east Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. These countries faces ill effects the most as all the garbage arrives at their door. This activity caused heavy damage to the people living nearby as well as to the environment.
Basel Convention whose main objective is to control and regulate the movement of hazardous waste and their disposal. It is to protect the environment and human health. The governments of 187 countries including Malaysia signed this treaty to reduce the smuggling of waste from developed nations to the developing nations. The United States, however, did not agree with this convention.
The Malaysia fightback sets an example for the other countries to save their nation from becoming a dumping site.