The Malaysian Department of Environment (DoE), under the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), has set a target to close down 100 illegal plastic recycling factories by end of March 2019.
MESTECC has identified a total of 97 illegal plastic waste recycling plants so far and it hopes to shut down these factories within the first quarter of 2019. Selangor is a hotspot for these factories with 61 factories identified in the state. MESTECC has also identified six factories in Johor, 10 each in Kedah and Negeri Sembilan, seven in Perak, two in Penang and one in Kelantan. The government will cut off their electricity supply and try to ensure that they are not able to shift their operations to another location.
Along with shutting down illegal establishments, the government is also conducting checks on legal factories to ensure they comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Out of the 48 legal plastic recycling factories in Selangor, 20 which were found to be polluting the Environment have been shut down.
When China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, the volume of plastic waste moving to Malaysia exploded, before a temporary restriction imposed in July 2018. More than 450,000 tons of plastic scrap was imported into the country between January and July 2018, 40% higher than imports for the entire year of 2017 and many illegal recycling plants sprung up around the country. In reaction to reports of pollution in Kuala Langat, Selangor, the government revoked approved permits (AP) to import used plastic.
(Sources : The Star; Malaysia Kini; The Malaysian Insight)