IPOH, Perak: Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) on Monday (May 27) rejected media reports on the presence of an unmanaged plastic waste dump in the jungles of Ipoh.
The waste site which went viral on social media was actually managed by a company which processes the waste as fuel, said DOE Director Norazizi Adinan.
"The company operates in the IGB Industrial Area in Tasek and has not violated any regulations," he said when asked to comment on a Malay Mail news story citing British media reports that there is a six-meter deep plastic waste dump in the jungle.
The British news outlets have alleged that the plastic waste dump near Perak includes trash from British supermarkets and the local recycling departments there.
Mr Norazizi said the premises was operating legally and had a license from the Ipoh City Council. The city council has been monitoring the operations to ensure that they were in line with the Environment Quality Act 1974, he added.
Resourceco Asia Sdn Bhd’s Operations Director K Muralindran said the rubbish at the site was estimated to be two tonnes. It was collected since the beginning of this year.
He said the company, which has been operating since 2011, collected garbage such as plastic and fabric to be processed into fuel for use in cement processing plants.
"We are the first such company in Malaysia and processing waste into fuel actually helps to protect the environment, better than dumping waste at the disposal sites," he said.
He said each month, his company buys between 3 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes of garbage from various industries and commercial bodies for recycling.
On the British media reports, Mr Muralindran noted that a group of four foreigners had entered the collection site last December.
"We invited them to come to the office to give them a brief description of what really happens but they refused and proceeded to the disposal site to take pictures using drones," he said.
He added that a police report against the group had been lodged on Dec 14 at the Kampung Tawas police station.
READ: 180 nations agree UN deal to regulate export of plastic waste
PUTRAJAYA TO SHIP BACK 400 TONNES OF PLASTIC TO COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN
Meanwhile, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Tuesday that more than 400 tonnes of imported, contaminated plastic waste in Port Klang will be shipped back to their countries of origin.
“We should not let ourselves become a dumping ground. That’s why we want to control it (plastic waste imports). We want to fight back,” she stated.
“They (other countries) are dumping it on us. We will fight back and send it back to them.”
Last month, Ms Yeo said the authorities found shipping containers with waste falsely declared as 3920 plastic - which does not require an import permit - while in reality containing 3915 plastic.
Under the Harmonised System for the classification of goods, the 3920 code refers to plastic plates, sheets, film and foil strips, while 3915 refers to plastic waste, parings and scrap.
Approved permits are needed for the import of 3915 plastic into Malaysia.
Ms Yeo then said such waste was being brought into Malaysia from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Germany and Spain.