Plastic waste: An environmental bane Malaysia is unloading

Plastic waste: An environmental bane Malaysia is unloading

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems facing the world today.

Even though plastic has many valuable uses, people tend to become addicted to single-use plastic, which can cause terrible environmental consequences.

According to the United Nations, one million plastic drinking bottles are being purchased every minute around the world, while up to five trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

In total, half of all plastic materials produced are designed to be used only once and then, thrown away.

Researchers also estimate that more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic had been produced since the early 1950s and about 60% of that plastic has ended up in either a landfill or the natural environment.

Today, we have another problem. We can see that plastic waste being burned on roadsides, which is dangerous as some of the plastic may contain chlorine, which is carcinogenic and could cause cancer.

After China banned the import of plastic in 2017, Malaysia began buying discarded plastic from China’s former exporters, including the US, UK and Australia. Illegal recycling factories in Jenjarom quickly seized the opportunity to get rid of the waste, with many of them either burying or burning scraps.

In addition, 872,797 tonnes of plastic waste was imported into our country in 2018 since China banned the import of plastic waste.

On Monday, Britain agreed to take back 42 containers of plastic waste illegally exported to Malaysia as several Asian nations push back against becoming the world’s rubbish dump.

Malaysia’s Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin praised the “highly commendable” move by London.

“This cooperation signifies a recognition that plastic pollution is a global issue which requires commitment from various countries to address the problem,” she said in a statement.

Up to 3,000 tonnes of rubbish from Malaysia will soon be returned to the UK, US, Japan, China, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Norway and France in the future.

Fifi Harteeny Marzuki is a journalist with The Leaders Online