GEORGE TOWN (June 12): The Penang Government will take stern action against factories that are illegally processing plastic waste, said State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
He said the State Government was reviewing the licences issued to all plastic recycling factories following the Federal Government’s decision to incorporate 18 new conditions that managers of plastic waste processing factories need to meet when applying for approved permit (AP).
"They may have a licence to operate but they also need to abide by conditions like having a water treatment system, end-of-life system, building plans and approval from the local authorities,” he told reporters here in denying a newspaper report which said that the waste dumped at a disposal site in Gurun, Kedah might have originated from Penang.
Phee, who is the State Assemblyman for Sungai Puyu, said the State Government had also stepped up enforcement against plastic recycling factories to prevent the smuggling of contaminated plastic waste into the country.
"We told them enough is enough; if you want to operate in Penang, please follow the house rule in Penang...the rule is so tight that many of them are not able to carry on so they closed down,” he said.
He also said the State Government was cooperating with the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry and Local Government and Housing Ministry in investigating the case of 265 container loads of plastic waste found abandoned at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) since early this year.
Phee said the State Government was making efforts to send back the containers of plastic waste to their countries of origin, and it was open to discussions with representatives of these countries.
"I have discussed with a representative of one container-owning country and he agreed that this matter should be resolved properly to avoid polluting the environment,” he said.
On May 27, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said 450 tonnes of waste in 10 containers would be sent back to their countries of origin soon.
Yeo said the Cabinet on April 24 had given her Ministry the mandate to set up a special team, with the cooperation of various agencies, to investigate the smuggling of plastic waste into Malaysia.