Graphic shows countries that dump their plastic waste in Malaysia, with charts on amounts dumped and how little is actually recycled.
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ENVIRONMENT

Malaysia to return 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste

By Ninian Carter

May 30, 2019 - Malaysia is to send around 3,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste back to the wealthy countries that shipped it there, in a stand against becoming a dumping ground for the world’s “recycled” garbage.

Last year, Malaysia became the world’s hot spot for plastic waste after China banned its importation – disrupting the flow of more than 7 million tonnes of trash a year.

The Malaysian government has now declared war plastic, saying 60 shipping containers of trash that had been imported illegally would be sent back – this comes hard on the heels of them returning 69 containers to Canada in mid-May.

Greenpeace’s recent “Recycling Myth” report uncovered blatant regulation violations in the disposal of plastic, including dumping and open-air burning, and illegal practises contributing to environmental pollution and harmful health impacts for Malaysians.

The investigation found the country’s plastic recycling industry to be overwhelmed by the influx and unable accommodate the waste in a way that is sustainable and acceptable by the government’s own standards.

Ninety percent of waste is exported from high-income countries and then all too often either openly burned or dumped in low-income countries. Globally, only 9% of plastic waste is actually recycled, 12% is incinerated, and the remaining 79% ends up in landfill or the natural environment.

Since China banned plastic waste imports in January 2018, countries in Southeast Asia – particularly Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – have accepted an increased amount of plastic waste.

PUBLISHED: 30/05/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Greenpeace
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