Plastic waste imports to be levied, permits tightened.

Zuraida on her surprise visit to an illegal plastic waste factory here on Tuesday.

Zuraida on her surprise visit to an illegal plastic waste factory here on Tuesday.

KUALA LANGAT: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin is proposing that a levy be imposed on plastic waste imports in a bid to better manage the problem of plastic pollution from the recycling industry.

She said while Malaysian factories were currently importing plastic for free, this was set to change soon as the government planned to impose a levy of RM15 per tonne.

“I hear it’s a very lucrative business.

“Now we are going to put a levy on them. Importers would have to immediately comply with this levy once it’s in place,” she told reporters after meeting with various agencies at the Kuala Langat District Council here on Tuesday (Sept 25).

“The names of companies that import plastic and export plastic must be listed down to show how genuine the business is.

“The applicants must also get the approval of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) in order to get the AP,” she said.

Zuraida added that the APs issued by her Ministry would also be made to tally with the Customs Department’s capacity to receive plastic waste at the ports.

“Previously, there was no tally between the permits issued and the Customs Department’s capacity,” she pointed out.

The meeting was held to discuss the issue of local factories importing and recycling plastic waste from countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom after China banned plastic imports.

In July, the Ministry revoked the AP on plastic waste imports, affecting 114 legal plastic waste factories all over Malaysia for three months up till Oct 23.

The move was taken in light of reports of serious pollution in Kuala Langat caused by factories involved in processing plastic waste.

According to Zuraida, there were 114 plastic recycling factories that were active all over Malaysia.

In Kuala Langat alone, there were 24 illegal plastic waste factories, with another 17 already ordered to close down, she said.

By Fatimah Zainal
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