Less than a week after it was announced that garbage sent from Canada to the Philippines is officially coming back, Malaysia’s environment minister Yeo Bee Yin announced that her country will also be sending containers of contaminated plastic waste back to a number of countries – including Canada – after they were “illegally shipped” to Malaysia.
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According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Yeo said her country will not continue “to be a dumping ground for the developed nations.”
She took the rhetoric one step further though, using the word “traitors” to describe “those responsible for destroying our ecosystem with these illegal activities.”
The SCMP report noted that Yeo vowed that even though her country is “small,” it “will not be bullied.”
Yeo’s comments come on the heels of a move by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to begin the process of sending 103 shipping containers of garbage back to Canada after they were shipped to the Philippines by a private business for recycling in 2013 and 2014.
Asked about the situation in Malaysia on Tuesday, Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said at this point in the process, there’s a need to find out a “few more facts” about what exactly is going on.
“We don’t actually know too much about the Malaysia situation at this point – there are many countries involved,” she told Daily Hive.
However, McKenna said she believes the situation in Malaysia – as well as the Philippines – stems from the reality “that the developing countries no longer want to take our recyclables, they no longer want to take our waste, and that is reasonable.”
Moving forward, she said, “we’re going to have to figure this out in Canada, and that’s why the government has said we need to have a zero-plastic pollution strategy so that we can actually tackle this.”
The shipment from the Philippines is set to be disposed of at a facility in Burnaby, BC.