Penang welfare committee urge to prevent Penang from becoming an international dumping ground
BUTTERWORTH, Malaysia (Sin Chew Daily/ANN) - If there is no local company to claim the foreign garbage, the government should call for open tender to clean and recycle the plastics and then send the foreign garbage back to the source country.
The Penang Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh has urged two federal ministries - the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry to resolve the problem of foreign garbage accumulated at the Butterworth cargo terminal to avoid Penang becoming an international dump site.
Phee pointed out that there are a total of 397 containers from foreign countries were accumulated at the terminal, saying that various countries (foreign garbage source countries) have different positions and only the Canadian government representatives have come to meet with the state government. Other countries have completely ignored the matter.
“The federal government handles the imported waste issue by issuing the AP permits and not the state government. For people’s healthy and safety, we stand firm and do not want others to treat out home as the dumping ground. The federal government must respect us,’’ Phee said.
He said the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin once said once said that illegal plastics smuggled into Malaysia would have to be returned to the country of origin. But who should bear the cost, transportation and export fees of the containers at the Butterworth Terminal? The government cannot and should not bear the cost, he said.
Phee said that if there is no local company to claim the foreign garbage, the government should call for open tender to clean and recycle the plastics and then send the foreign garbage back to the source country.
"We should not be selfish. Once the foreign garbage is sent back to the country of origin, our government must also ensure that foreign garbage is not thrown into the sea or sent to other places on the way," he said.
He said that prior to finalising the matter, the federal government must also ensure that no foreign garbage containers enter Malaysia and the federal government should also provide a list of approved permits (APs) to allow the state government to supervise the operation of foreign garbage to ensure that APs are not abused.
Penang Customs director Datuk Saidi Ismail said he would be meeting with officials from the energy ministry in Putrajaya to discuss how to resolve the accumulated containers with imported waste.
He said the department has issued summonses to the operators who violated the regulations. Majority of them have not settled the summonses. The department is sourcing for solution to trace the companies which have not declared the imported wastes.
Saidi said a total of 397 containers were left at the Butterworth cargo terminal. He said 155 of them declared to the customs department but yet to be handed over to the enforcement division. A total of 116 cases have been investigated while another 126 containers have yet to be declared. Each container is 40 feet (12.19m) long and weighed at 28 tonners. They contained imported wastes and the government has to bear millions in ringgit in terms of costs.
He said that 271 of them are from Hong Kong (94), the United States (68), Germany (28), Canada (20), Japan (14), Finland (12), Greece (12), Australia (11), Spain. (5), Chile (3), New Zealand (2) and France (2).
“Penang has containers with five entry permits arriving in Penang every day. The clean plastics are for local use,” he said.