KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 -- The United Kingdom has agreed to repatriate 42 containers comprising illegal shipment of plastic waste from Malaysia, in accordance with the Basel Convention.
The British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia's Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) in a joint statement today said that authorities and shipping agents are currently working together in the repatriation process.
The containers, which had arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019, were deemed illegal as they failed to comply with the necessary import papers.
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the British High Commission’s proactive action of working closely with MESTECC in repatriating the containers is highly commendable.
This cooperation, she said, signifies a recognition that plastic pollution is a global issue that requires commitment from various countries to address the problem.
“We hope the cooperation and understanding between Malaysia and the United Kingdom will set an example for other countries with companies exporting contaminated plastic waste to other developing nations," she was quoted as saying in the statement.
British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said the UK government shares the same concerns as the Malaysian government on the issue of plastic waste.
"The repatriation of these 42 containers reflects our commitment to fighting the illegal plastic waste trade," he said, adding that the UK looks forward to working with Malaysia on the broader agenda of conserving the environment and addressing climate change.
The announcement came following a recent visit by the UK’s Environment Agency (EA), which was organised by the British High Commission in response to news of the illegal shipment of plastic waste from the UK.
The statement said EA held a series of meetings with MESTECC, the Department of Environment, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, relevant port authorities and agencies in Malaysia.
It underscored that these meetings have resulted in a greater mutual understanding of the regulatory framework and policies related to trade in plastic waste, as well as an exchange of knowledge in sharing intelligence, inspection procedures, identification and repatriation of plastic waste.
MESTECC and the high commission are already collaborating on a number of initiatives in tackling plastic pollution, including jointly hosting a VIP screening of BBC Studio's Blue Planet II to raise public awareness on the perils of single-use plastics.
In addition, the high commission is offering UK expertise from WRAP Global, a UK sustainability charity, to support MESTECC's initiatives in setting up the Malaysia Plastics Pact.
The high commission will also be sending UK experts to deliver a venture workshop in partnership with MESTECC to promote research and innovation in mitigating the use of plastic.
The statement also mentioned that the UK is set to become the joint chair of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) next year.