SHAH ALAM: The government will impose a levy on the import of plastic waste by local industry players into the country beginning next month.
Housing and Local Government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said plastic waste importers would have to adhere to the new criteria which was drawn out by the ministry following the three months freeze of their Approved Permits (AP).
The freeze, which took effect in late July due to air pollution stemming from illegal factories processing plastic waste in Kuala Langat and the discovery of AP holders renting out the license to second and third parties, ends on Oct 23.
Zuraida said the freeze would not be extended and importers would have to comply to other new and stringent criteria, on top of having to fork out money for bringing in the plastic waste from foreign countries.
“We will impose a levy on the import of plastic waste at RM15 a tonne. It will start after Oct 23 and applicants will have to comply with that. I heard it (plastic waste) is a lucrative business.
“We have carried out discussions with the industry players and they have somewhat given an indication that they agreed to that. We have discussed this with them before making the decision,” said Zuraida today after chairing a coordination meeting at the Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MDKL) where she addressed the issue of illegal factories processing plastic waste which have caused air pollution, endangering the lives of the local community.
Charging such levy, added Zuraida, has never been done before and materials that come into the country were never checked by the Customs too.
“Now, one of the criteria is for the AP to tally with the approval given by the Customs Department. I urge the department to be more strict and that will be (one of) the factors in monitoring the importers.
“That is why in this meeting (today), there are feedbacks that plastic waste are imported and being given to illegal factories,” said Zuraida.
She said applicants of the APs from Oct 23 onwards will be required to furnish additional criteria such as the names of companies importing and exporting the plastic waste to reflect the authenticity of the business, adherence to the apacity and storage of raw materials, approval from the Department of Environment as well as housekeeping of the premises subjected to checks by the National Solid Waste Management Department (JPSPN).
Meanwhile, Zuraida revealed that there were 54 factories processing plastic waste operating in the Kuala Langat municipality, out of which 13 are licensed after it were legalised by the state government.
Zuraida ordered a meeting to be held with all parties to be held on Oct 2 at the local council’s office and it will be chaired by the JPSPN director-general Ismail Mokhtar.
“In the Oct 2 meeting, discussions would revolve around finding ways to dispose the existing plastic waste at the illegal factories, taking over of the materials from the unlicensed parties by licensed factories and the time frame of the actions,” she said.
She said one of the ministry’s next course of action was to relocate all factories processing plastic waste to a designated heavy industrial zone following concerns aired by residents that said such activities should be away from residential neighbourhoods as its materials are highly flammable and toxic to the people.