Sarawak bans import of plastic waste

KUCHING, Oct 6: Aware of the harm that plastics can cause to the environment, Sarawak will not allow recyclable plastic waste from overseas to be dumped here, assures Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.

“As far as my ministry is concerned, we will not allow recyclable plastic waste to be dumped here in Sarawak. But elsewhere in the country, we do not know. But as far as Sarawak is concerned, I would like to assure our people that we will never let them in,” Penguang told DayakDaily today.

He was asked to comment on a news report today that Malaysia is increasingly becoming a major destination for the world’s recyclable plastic waste, with the country taking in over hundreds of thousands of tonnes after China stopped accepting such refuse this year.

According to The Guardian, the US shipped over 157,299 metric tonnes of plastic waste to Malaysia in the first six months of the year, representing a 273 per cent increase year-on-year.

Vietnam also took in more during the same period, albeit just 71,220 tonnes or a 46 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2017. Thailand is another growing victim.

Citing data that a Greenpeace investigative unit extracted from the US census bureau, the British outlet reported that US shipments of plastic waste to China plunged 92 per cent while those destined for Hong Kong fell 77 per cent in the same period, as shipments here skyrocketed.

On another issue, Penguang said Sarawak was one of the few states in the country to have level four landfills, including one incinerator that became operational in 2004.

“Currently, we have two incinerators at the Kuching Integrated Waste Management Park (KIWMP), located near Mambong and which has a capacity of between 30,000 and 36,000 tonnes per year,” he said, adding that both use state-of-the-art German technology, where hazardous wastes such as clinical, industrial and scheduled wastes are treated.

Each incinerator cost between RM30 million and RM40 million, depending on its capacity. — DayakDaily