Minister of Housing and Local of Malaysia, Datuk Zulaida had recently announced that all recycled waste imported into Malaysia will be levied RM20 per ton as to regulate the recycling industry and control plastic pollution in Malaysia. She added that there is no charge for the import of foreign garbage currently.
It all started in 2018 when the Government discovery that Selangor had a serious pollution incidents where factories import waste plastics from developed countries. Government of Malaysia had since then closed more than 100 plastic factories and brought the related personnel to court.
The Government of Malaysia originally planned to impose a levy of RM50 per ton of waste as to regulate the recycling industry. However after several discussions, it was brought to an agreement, RM20 will be the levy, and the importer would bear these costs.
Zulaida said that as of February 2021, there were 71 recycling factories and companies who qualified for import clean and recyclable waste plastics. With the efforts to clam down the toxic imports, Malaysia had successfully reduce its imports of foreign waste from 872,530 metric tons in 2018 to 333,500 metric tons in 2019.
In addition, Malaysia had imposed strict disclosures for the country of origin of the waste and making it clear that the import of non-recyclable foreign waste is strictly prohibited.
“Our country only allows the import of waste from developed countries such as Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.” Zulaida said.
Last week, it was suspected that a ship containing contaminated waste arrived in Malaysia from the United States. Environment Minister Datuk Seri Ibrahim stated that it was in compliance with the Basel Convention and he allowed they discharge the waste in Malaysia. This obviously caused an uproar among the people.
In response to the imports, netizens commented that the Malaysia’s levy on import waste are cheap and some netizens argued that the country is already famous for exporting talents, and now importing garbage.