Plastic waste: Govt forms committee to look into recycling industry

Reports say Malaysia has become a dumping ground for plastic waste from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. (AFP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has formed a committee to look into the plastic recycling industry in an attempt to stop Malaysia from becoming a dumping ground for other countries.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the committee would come up with recommendations to stop the dumping of plastic waste in Malaysia.

“It is chaired by the housing and local government ministry but other ministries are also involved,” he said when asked to comment on the illegal plastic factories in Jenjarom, Selangor, which were believed to have polluted the water resources in the area.

Xavier, who was speaking after attending a national river day celebration here, did not specify how many ministries were involved in the committee.

A news report by Radio New Zealand (RNZ) recently said that Malaysia has become a dumping ground for New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom to dispose of plastic waste.

The report said Malaysia became a popular alternative after China banned plastic imports this year.

The report also stated that almost 40 illegal recycling factories were set up in Jenjarom, hidden in palm oil plantations.

“That way they can easily dump the contaminated water they use to clean the filthy plastics before they process them,” the report said.

Xavier said the Customs Department was also looking into companies that were responsible for the plastic imports.

“Our enforcement is on-going at the illegal factories in Kuala Langat and Klang,” he added.

On river pollution, Xavier said such incidents have been increasing.

“I think the rivers in Kelantan, Pahang and some in Kedah and Perak are highly polluted because of deforestation and logging activities.

“We need a proper forest management system or else it will have a severe effect on our rivers,” he said.

Xavier said river pollution in the Klang Valley is due to its high population and lack of education towards preserving water resources.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad, meanwhile, said the River of Life (RoL) project would proceed until 2020, adding that over RM4 billion had been allocated for it.

A large portion is being used to clean the rivers while the remaining funds are allocated for landscaping.

“I will not say whether the programme is a failure or a success now because we have not reached the deadline.

“We will carry on with the River of Life project because we want to upgrade our rivers here so that they can be tourist attractions like the Thames River in London,” Khalid said.