Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bin Yee is on a mission to eliminate the usage of single-use plastic. While on it, she discovered plastic waste was being illegally imported into Malaysia from developed western countries.
Australia is one of the countries that was called out for smuggling contaminated plastic and falsifying the declared HS (harmonised system) code when it exported its waste to Malaysia.
To elaborate, the HS code is an internationally standardised coding system to classify the glossary of globally imported materials or products into countries. HS code 3920 plastic was used, which allows materials to proceed without need for permit and review. Instead they should use HS code 3915 plastic, which stands for plastics waste, parings and scrap.
Another report revealed how Australia is turning Malaysia into one of their personal dumpsites. Australia has the ability to dump 71,000 tonnes of plastic into Malaysia, disregarding its legality, forcing Yeo to close at least 150 illegal waste processing factories in the past year.
Recently, multiple heat on waste import are being channelled towards Australia. Not long ago, Australian rare-earth mining company Lynas was reported to export unrefined ores to Malaysia for processing, producing 1.5 million tonnes of heavy metal waste leaking into groundwaters.
It is undeniable that the volume of waste being dumped in Malaysia is plenty, but according to Australian environmental company Blue Environment, Malaysia is not on the top spot.
In regard to material, plastic is not Australia’s primary type of waste export. In fact, it is metals, which compliments the production in Lynas.
Meanwhile, Yeo said she will go all out to revoke licenses for falsifying declarations, and will be taking legal action against those found guilty.
Among other named countries were the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Due to China’s recent band on plastic waste imports, it disrupted at least 7 million tonnes of waste flowing into the world’s most populous country, forcing other nations to find alternative dump sites.