Since China banned plastic waste from being imported to them, large developed nations - including the United States - have been sending waste to smaller Asian nations. Malaysia has been one such target. Illegal recycling facilities in Malaysia have been receiving plastic waste from nations such as Australia and Canada.
The Malaysian government strongly disapproves of this illegal importation. In her statement last week, Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's Environment Minister, condemned these facilities. She called them "traitors to the country's sustainability", according to ABC News.
Yeo declared that Malaysia would not become a "dumping ground" for the rest of the world. She spoke about the imported plastic waste while at a dock in Kuala Lumpur, where some of the waste was displayed (Associated Press). It may have been rerouted from China, since the larger country had already banned imported waste.
Illegal recycling causes "environmental and health hazards," Yeo explained. The Malaysian government has cracked down on the illegal facilities in their country. Many citizens of wealthy countries already practice recycling, but when illegal recycling facilities in developing countries accept waste from these wealthy nations, it isn't be processed properly.
Click here to learn more about Malaysia's struggle with imported waste from larger nations, including the United States.
Jenna Phipps is a writer, editor, and dancer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys working with other people to improve their writing, taking long road trips, experimenting with choreography, and reading many novels.