On Monday, Malaysia made the decision to return 42 shipping containers full of illegal plastic waste to the UK. They said they are refusing to become the rubbish dump of the world.
The trash that has dumped in Malaysia and other South East Asian countries will often be taken to illegal plastic recycling facilities. Where toxic fumes are released into the environment causing respiratory illnesses and water contamination.
Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s Environment Minister has said: “We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries.”
Malaysia has said they have already repatriated a total of 3,737 metric tonnes of unwanted waste and intend on sending back another 110 by the middle of the year.
For the last 25 years, the West have been dumping their trash in poorer, less developed countries like the Philippines, China and Vietnam. These countries often do not have strict environmental laws regulating how waste should be recycled, allowing European countries to dispose of waste more cheaply than at home.
Voice of Kent has reached out to the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) for a comment, but they have not responded at the time of writing.