Plastic waste returned by Malaysia Pixabay

As countries like the US and Britain continue to ace heights of success while thriving in their status as “developed countries, their per capita waste production is also increasing as the level of consumption skyrockets. There are higher proportions of plastics, metals, and paper in the municipal solid waste stream. So, where does this waste go? To other countries via shipments carrying tonnes of the waste but now they are refusing to be the recipient of the pollution generated in “developed” countries.

Malaysia has sent back shipping containers crammed with plastic rubbish to Western countries after declaring it was “not the world's garbage dump”. The country has been flooded with plastic waste since China, which earlier had a massive recycling industry, banned most of the import of waste in the country. Following this ban, many recycling businesses in China have moved to Malaysia, leading countries like France, Britain, the US, etc to offload their waste there.

But this waste hasn’t been shipped with a proper permit and hence was practically crushing small communities. Keeping the state of these particular regions in mind, Malaysia's government returned 3,737 metric tonnes of trash. Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin shared that of the 150 containers sent to 13 countries, 43 returned to France, 42 to Britain, 17 to the US, and 11 to Canada.

In the near future, Malaysian officials are planning to send back another 110 containers. 60 of which came from the US in order to “ensure that Malaysia does not become the garbage dump of the world”, as per Yeo Bee Yin. She also added that the environment ministry “will continue to wage war against pollution, including plastic waste”.

As for the cost of returning the containers, the expenses have been footed by the exporting countries and shipping lines. The minister said: 'We don't want to pay a single cent. People dump their rubbish into your country, we are not supposed to pay them to send it back.” As specified by the UK environment ministry as well, returned waste is the company’s responsibility that exported it.

In recent months, several Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines have returned hundreds of containers to the exporting countries.

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