Leading Malaysian politician calls for plastic import ban in next five years

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Mohamed Khaled Nordin

The vice president of Malaysian political party UMNO has called for a plastic import ban in the next five years.

In a Facebook post, Mohamed Khaled Nordin noted that there had been a 63% rise in plastic imports from the UK alone from 40,007 tonnes in 2019 to 65,316 tonnes in 2020.

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He added: “This is not a new issue. In fact, our country has been plagued by this for years, becoming one of the biggest global landfills.

“In 2016, we purchased 168,500 tonnes of plastic waste, and 316,600 tonnes in 2017. But in 2018, we purchased 456,000 tonnes between January and July of 2018 alone. The government must act promptly to stop this worrying trend before other nations undermines us.

“As a developing country, our role is far greater than to be the dumpster truck of the developed world. We should be aiming to become a net zero waste nation. The current and previous government’s effort to return illegal containers is commendable. However, it is not enough.

“The first thing that we should do as a nation is to come up with a plan to completely ban plastic waste imports in the next five years. We should examine and try to emulate China’s policy.

“Having a strategy in place for a total ban will reset our mindset and culture in dealing with waste products. With this, the government will set a high standard for everyone to follow.

“Secondly, we have to drastically improve our waste management and recycling facilities. Less than 10% of our plastic waste is recycled. Most of it ends either incinerated or dumped at landfills or the natural environment.

“This is a result of little to no investment in our waste management and recycling facilities. We are still using archaic recycling methods and having little to no waste management.
We should treat our country with more respect. Stop accepting waste before the land is filled with more waste than productivity. The government can’t stay silent and must act immediately.”

UMNO has nine ministers within Malaysia’s coalition government, so the comments from Mohamed Khaled Nordin are likely to carry some weight.

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