UK agrees to repatriate 42 containers of illegal plastic waste

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25): The UK has agreed to repatriate 42 containers of illegal shipments of plastic waste from Malaysia, with authorities and shipping agents currently working together to facilitate the process.

London's announcement today came following a visit by the UK’s Environment Agency (EA) organised by the British High Commission in response to news of the illegal shipment of plastic waste from the UK, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) and British High Commission Kuala Lumpur.

The agency had a series of meetings with MESTECC, Department of Environment, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, relevant port authorities and agencies in Malaysia.

The meetings 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.

“The British High Commission’s proactive action of working closely with MESTECC in repatriating 42 plastic import containers in Penang Port is highly commendable. This cooperation signifies a recognition that plastic pollution is a global issue, which requires commitment from various countries to address the problem.

“We hope the co-operation and understanding between Malaysia and United Kingdom will set an example for other countries with companies exporting contaminated plastic waste to other developing nations,” said Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin.

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 fight the illegal plastic waste trade.

“We look forward to working with Malaysia on the broader agenda of conserving the environment and addressing climate change, particularly with the UK becoming the joint chair of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) next year,” he said.

MESTECC and the British High Commission are collaborating on a number of initiatives to tackle plastic pollution including jointly hosting a VIP screening of BBC Studios’ Blue Planet II to raise public awareness on the perils of single-use plastics.

The high commission is also offering UK expertise from WRAP Global, a UK sustainability charity, to support MESTECC’s initiative in setting up the Malaysia Plastics Pact and 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. 

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