‘Big No To Shipping Of Waste Into Sarawak’

KUCHING: Sarawak government will not allow the state to become a dumping ground for developed countries, said to be bringing in their waste here on the pretext of undertaking ‘luxurious’ recycling industry worth RM30 billion.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian points out that Sarawak treasures its environment, and insists that developed countries must manage their own waste.

We will not support (import of foreign waste for recycling industries) as our environment and our nature are princely! We must learn from the mistakes of the Western countries. Manage your own waste, he said when contacted yesterday.

Dr Sim was asked to comment on reports about Malaysia taking in 754,000 tonnes of plastic waste from over 19 countries this year.

The information is based on data from the Department of National Solid Waste Management, which shows that the US is the top plastic waste exporter to Malaysia, followed by Japan and Britain.

Greenpeace Malaysia revealed this data in its ‘The Recycling Myth’ report uncovering regulation violations in the plastic waste disposal, following news surrounding illegal plastic waste recycling factories mushrooming in some parts of Peninsular Malaysia.

A quick check with the federal Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has confirmed that a Kuching-based company is doing waste recycling of foreign waste, albeit in smaller quantities.

Sarawak is also importing. Only one company � Unify Five Sdn Bhd, Kuching. Plant capacity very small, only 200 tonnes per month, Zuraida wrote on a WhatsApp message.

Dr Sim, when informed about the existence of the industry in Sarawak, pledged to find out more about the issue.

Will look into it as we should protect our environment, he stressed.

Dr Sim also said he would bring the matter to the attention of his colleagues in the Sarawak cabinet.

I will discuss with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah (Ali Hasan) as environment is under his ministry, he said.

In view of the 754,000 tonnes of plastic waste taken in from 19 countries this year � with US, Japan and Britain billed as the highest exporters � is Malaysia literally the ‘world’s rubbish bin’?

Malaysia Parliament has been told that plastic waste processing business is a RM30-billion industry that cannot be ignored.

Meanwhile, a national English daily reported that Kuala Langat residents, who are in the middle of the fight against over 40 illegal plastic recycling centres in the area, saying that this venture comes at the cost of their health.

We are the ones bearing the environmental risk of this plastic waste, said resident Pua Lay Peng.

Even if we avoid the dumping grounds and install water filters, we cannot avoid the acrid smell in the air, Pua said.

Kuala Langat folk said the illegal plastic recycling factories are producing solid waste while the water pollution has forced fish and prawn farms to stop operations.

They claimed that villagers are developing chronic respiratory diseases from the open burning of unrecyclable waste. These factories, mostly illegal facilities owned by China companies, mainly hire foreign workers.

Pua added that its environmental impact would reduce the value of property in the area, as well as affect local businesses.