"You Dream On" - Yeo Bee Yin Sends 3,737 Tonnes Of Trash Back Where They Came From

A total of 3,737 metric tonnes of waste was sent back to 13 countries.

Cover image via AFP/The Straits Times & Nandakumar S. Haridas/Greenpeace/The Straits Times

Malaysia has sent 150 containers of plastic waste back to its 13 countries of origin since the end of last year

"If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on," Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change (MESTECC) Minister Yeo Bee Yin told reporters during inspection of the port in Butterworth, Penang yesterday, 20 January, according to Time.

Yeo said the successful repatriation of a total 3,737 metric tonnes of waste back to their respective countries came after strict enforcement at Malaysian ports

Relevant enforcement agencies have blocked smuggling of waste and shut down more than 200 illegal plastic recycling factories across the country since last year.

Better yet, she added that the repatriation exercise did not cost the Malaysian government a single cent.

"The costs were either borne by the exporters or by the shipping liners. This is an unprecedented move by Malaysia," she said, as quoted by Malaysiakini.

The Star reported that of the 150 containers, 43 were returned to France, 42 to the United Kingdom, 17 to the United States, 11 to Canada, 10 to Spain, and the rest to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Lithuania.

Yeo said another 110 containers are expected to be sent back by the middle of this year

According to Yeo, the government will launch a national action plan on illegal plastic importation next month that will help the enforcement agencies standardise activities and procedures to speed up the process of returning the waste.

"Our position is very firm. We just want to send back (the waste) and we just want to give a message that Malaysia is not the dumping site of the world," she said.

It was revealed last year that developed countries have been exporting and dumping tonnes of waste in Malaysia:

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