Malaysia has sent 150 containers of plastic waste to 13 countries since July 2019 as it continues its struggle with pollution.
In total 4,120 US tonnes of waste was returned to its country of origin. 43 containers were sent to France, 42 to the UK, 17 to the US, 11 to Canada, 10 to Spain.
The others were sent to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Lithuania, according to reports that cite Malaysia’s environment ministry.
The initiative was announced in May 2019, a story Port Technology International (PTI) reported on.
Malaysia has suffered considerably from pollution since China banned the import of plastic waste in 2018, which meant shipments were rerouted around Southeast Asia.
However, the country’s Environment Minister, Yeo Bee Yin, is quoted as saying that those who think Malaysia will become the world’s dumping ground can “dream on”.
The shipments were made following stringent anti-smuggling measures at a number of Malaysia’s key ports, as well as the closing of 200 illegal plastic recycling factories.
110 more containers of plastic are due to be sent back to their country of origin in 2020, according Yeo Bee Yin, and talks are ongoing with US authorities to take a further 60.