New UN rules makes Malaysia to return US plastic waste shipment – Times of India

New UN rules makes Malaysia to return US plastic waste shipment – Times of India
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will return a container of plastic trash en route from the US as it violates new UN rules governing hazardous waste, the environment ministry said on Wednesday. It comes as one of the first signs of the regulations being enforced.
Two years back, over 180 countries agreed to ban hard-to-recycle plastic waste trade in an effort to stop rich countries to dump their waste in the developing world, where it often ends up polluting the local environment and the ocean.
The new restrictions come under the Basel Convention, came into affect in January. The Convention is a UN treaty that polices the trade in hazardous waste.
Signatory countries can now only trade plastic waste if it meets certain low-contamination criteria. It should be clean, sorted and easy-to-recycle – or if the exporting country gets prior consent from the importing country.
Mohamad Khalil Zaiyany Sumiran, the environment ministry’s spokesman, told Reuters that a shipment was on its way from the US, that officials have said did not meet that criteria to be imported into Malaysia.
“After investigations, Malaysia will send back the container to the origin country,” said Mohamad Khalil, adding that it was unclear when the shipment would arrive.
Malaysia’s environment minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had said on Saturday that authorities would restrict the container, shipped from Los Angeles, California on March 14.
The US produces more plastic waste per capita than any other country. But then also, it is the only major nation not to have ratified the Basel Convention and is not bound by its rules. However, under the treaty, Malaysia cannot accept prohibited plastic waste from the US.
Malaysia became the leading place for the world’s plastic waste after China banned imports in 2018. Since then, it has returned back tonnes of plastic scrap.
The Basel Action Network, an NGO, said this month that contaminated plastic waste trade was still flowing despite the new UN rules, highlighting the large volume being shipped from the US to Malaysia.

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