UK Will Be Taking Back 42 Containers Of Illegally Imported Plastic Waste From Malaysia

The containers had arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019

Cover image via Sky News

The United Kingdom (UK) will be taking back 42 containers with illegal shipments of plastic waste from Malaysia

According to a report in New Straits Times, the authorities and shipping agents are working together in the process that is taking place in accordance with the Basel Convention.

The announcement was made in a joint statement by the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC).

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Penang Port

The containers did not meet with the necessary import papers and so were deemed illegal

The joint statement said the containers arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019.

Prior to the announcement, the UK's Environment Agency (EA) paid a visit to Penang Port following news reports about the illegal shipment of plastic waste from the UK.

The EA held a series of meetings with MESTECC, Environment Department, Customs Department, port authorities, and other agencies in Malaysia.

According to New Straits Times, the meetings resulted in greater mutual understanding of the regulatory framework and policies related to trade in plastic waste.

The meetings also enabled an exchange of knowledge in sharing intelligence, inspection procedures, identification, and repatriation of plastic waste between the two countries.

Following the UK's offer, Minister Yeo Bee Yin praised the move as "highly commendable"

MESTECC Minister Yeo Bee Yin

Image via Mukhriz Hazim/Malay Mail

"The British High Commission's proactive action of working closely with MESTECC in repatriating 42 plastic import containers in Penang Port is highly commendable. This cooperation signifies a recognition that plastic pollution is a global issue that requires commitment from various countries to address the problem," the MESTECC Minister said, as reported by The Star.

"We hope the cooperation and understanding between Malaysia and the UK will set an example for other countries with companies exporting contaminated plastic waste to other developing nations."

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Charles Hay, said that the step shows their "commitment to fighting the illegal plastic waste trade"

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Kyodo News

Hay also added that the UK looked forward to working with Malaysia in tackling environmental issues and climate change.

"We look forward to working with Malaysia on the broader agenda of conserving the environment and addressing climate change, particularly with the UK becoming the joint chair of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) next year," Hay was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.

This is just one of the many cases of plastic waste pollution in Malaysia:

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