Malaysia ships back containers of 'illegal' plastic waste to the West
Malaysia says it has returned thousands of tons of plastic waste to countries such as France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia announced that it has returned 150 shipping containers filled with plastic waste to their country of origin after they were found to be contaminated and mixed in with other trash.
Malaysia has sent back 3,737 metric tons of plastic waste to a total of 13 countries, including France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, according to the BBC.
France received 43 containers, while the United Kingdom received 42 containers. The United States and Canada received 17 and 11 containers, respectively.
Malaysian authorities said that they hope to send back another 110 containers by mid-2020. Sixty of the containers are from the U.S., 15 from Canada and 14 from Japan.
Malaysia's environmental minister Yeo Bee Yin said the shipping companies and the countries that shipped out the containers will be responsible for the cost of the returns, CNN reports.
Many countries export recyclable waste abroad as this reduces domestic landfill, helps them meet recycling targets and is also inexpensive.
In a Facebook post, Yeo said that their government will ensure that Malaysia does not become the "garbage dump of the world."
Malaysia is not the only country in Southeast Asia facing this problem. According to the BBC, Indonesia and the Philippines have all sent back unwanted plastic waste to developed countries over the past year.
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