Malaysia officials have discovered 110 containers of dumped hazardous heavy metals allegedly sent from Romania, according to reports.
The waste was bound for Indonesia that had illegally entered the country before being abandoned last month.
It is the largest case of dumped toxic waste in the country, state media Bernama reported on Sunday (19 July).
The containers carried some 1,864 tonnes of electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), a by-product of steel production that contains heavy metals like zinc, cadmium and lead.
It’s reported the EAFD, classified as a toxic waste under the Basel Convention, had been listed as concentrated zinc in declaration forms.
The Department of Environment, as the Basel Convention authority (for Malaysia), has not granted approval for or received notifications from the waste exporter to transit in Malaysia
“The Department of Environment, as the Basel Convention authority (for Malaysia), has not granted approval for or received notifications from the waste exporter to transit in Malaysia,” the country’s environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim said.
Malaysia has contacted the Romanian Basel Convention authority to arrange for the repatriation of the containers and have engaged Interpol for further investigations, state media Bernama said.
In recent years, Malaysia became the world’s main destination for plastic waste after China banned imports of scrap.
The country has been negotiating with origin countries to take back hundreds of containers of plastic that entered the country illegally.
In January this year (2020), Malaysia shipped 150 containers of plastic waste back to a number of countries – including the UK, France and the US.