PORT KLANG : Malaysia will send as much as 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to the countries it came from, the environment minister said on Tuesday, the latest Asian country to reject rich countries rubbish.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last week ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept them.

Canada says the waste exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a commercial transaction done without government consent.

Canada had agreed to take the rubbish back but Duterte lost patience as arrangements were being made and ordered it out.

Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year. according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature [WWF], with much of it ending up in landfill or polluting the seas, in what is becoming a  growing international crisis.

China had previously taken a large amount of waste for recycling, but abruptly stopped last year, saying it wanted to improve its own environment.

Now Southeast Asian countries that stepped in to plug this gap say they have had enough.

''We urge developed countries to stop shipping garbage to our country,'' Yee Bee Yin, Malaysia's minister of energy, technology, science, environment and climate change, adding it was ''unfair and uncivilised''.

''We will return it back to the country of origin without any mercy,'' she said, after inspection of several waste-filled containers at Port Klang, the country's busiest port.

Plastic imports to Malaya have tripled since 2016, to 870,000 tonnes last year, official data showed.

The influx has sparked a rapid increase in the number of recycling plants, many of them operating without a license and with little regard for environmental standards. [Agencies]


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