Sri Lanka’s Customs says no notice on return of plastic waste from Malaysia

Beijing will lower import tariffs on more than 850 products including frozen pork from next month.

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka has not received notice from Malaysian authorities about plastic waste being sent back to the island, a top Customs official said.

“We have not got any notice from the Malaysian Embassy regarding the rubbish containers,” Sri Lanka Customs Spokesperson Sunil Jayarathna told EconomyNext.

“If there is something we will get a diplomatic notice from the embassy,” he said.

Multiple international news outlets reported that the Malaysian government had sent back 150 containers of plastic waste to 13 countries, including Sri Lanka since the third quarter of 2019.

“If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on,” Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin was quoted as saying .

“Our position is very firm. We just want to send back (the waste) and we just want to give a message that Malaysia is not the dumping site of the world.”

Of the 150 containers, 43 were returned to France, 42 to the UK, 17 to the US, 11 to Canada, 10 to Spain and the rest to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Lithuania, Malaysia’s Environment Ministry said.

In 2017, China after 24 years of importing waste, banned the import of 24 types of solid waste including plastic and wastepaper materials.

After the China imposed the ban, major waste exporter countries such as Britain, United States, France and Germany rerouted their waste piles to other Southeast Asia countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

Sri Lanka in early last year re-exported 111 containers abandoned at the port containing hazardous mortuary and clinical waste illegally imported to the country from Britain under the cover of metal recycling. (Colombo/Jan21/2020)