On Sunday, Bernama reported that containers were dumped at Tanjung Pelepas, Johor State. Inside it was 1,864 tons From EAFD dust – a dangerous by-product of steel production, containing toxic elements such as lead and chrome.
Officials said they were taken to Romania from Romania and falsely declared that they were zinc concentrated.
“The EAFD discovery, about transit in Malaysia and destined for Indonesia, is the largest discovery of its kind in Malaysian history,” Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Mann, Minister of Environment and Water, said in the Bernama report.
Malaysia returns the waste to Romania and requests INTERPOL to investigate.
Since China banned imports of plastic waste in 2018 in an attempt to clean up its environment, many countries have searched for alternative causes of waste disposal, causing problems for countries like Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
And added 187 countries last year to reduce irresponsible dumping Plastic for the Basel Convention, a treaty that regulates the movement of dangerous materials from one country to another. But the problem persists regardless.
EAFD, the illegal shipment in Malaysia, is classified as toxic waste under the Basel Convention, which Malaysia has signed. Only the United States, one of the world’s largest plastic producers, and Haiti has not ratified the convention.
The global garbage crisis
The dumping crisis has attracted more global attention in recent years, as countries like Malaysia and the Philippines have begun naming and removing waste exporters and sending abandoned waste to their original ports.
“We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries,” said UBen, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change of Malaysia at the time.
But the problem persists. Tuan Mann said, according to Pernama, that the Malaysian authorities have identified and arrested at least 28 attempts to import waste illegally this year.
The process of waste disposal escalated into famous diplomatic clashes. Last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his ambassador to Ottawa after Canada missed a deadline to recover tons of garbage. The Canadian government finally returned its waste after Duterte said he was ready to “declare war” on the issue.
Many of these governments, as well as non-profit and environmental organizations, hailed the 2019 Basel Convention amendment as a step in the right direction. It specifically addressed the issue of plastic waste – a major concern for health and environmental experts.
Most plastics are non-biodegradable and very durable. This means that plastic products manufactured today will likely last for centuries, if not thousands of years, according to the Basel Convention website. Over time, some products disintegrate and add to the wide range of micro plastics in the seas, air and food.
The garbage industry has also created an increase in unlicensed plastic recycling. Last year, Malaysian authorities discovered at least 148 unlicensed recycling plants that polluted local communities with toxic fumes and pollutants from the water.
When investigators searched one of these factories in the rural town of Jingarum, they found tons of plastic on the outside – a Connecticut Bologna Spring Bottled Water from Connecticut, a bottle of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula made in New Jersey, and a bag of Metcalfe slender popcorn packaged in the UK.
A new amendment to the Basel Convention, which will enter into force in 2021, will only allow clean, homogeneous, easily recyclable polymers to freely circulate globally.