A total of 110 containers of hazardous heavy metals from Romania were uncovered in Malaysia. The abandoned containers had entered the country illegally and were then abandoned, Malaysian state media Bernama reported on Sunday. This is the largest case of dumped toxic waste in the history of the Southeastern Asian country.
Malaysian Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that 1,864 tons of electric arc furnace dust (EAFD), a by-product of steel production, were found abandoned at the Tanjung Pelepas port.
“The discovery of the EAFD, in transit in Malaysia and bound for Indonesia, is the biggest finding of its kind in Malaysian history,”
– the minister said.
The EAFD, classified as a toxic waste under the Basel Convention, had been listed as concentrated zinc in the declaration forms. “The Department of Environment, as the Basel Convention authority (for Malaysia), has not granted approval to or received notifications from the waste exporter for transit in Malaysia,” he added.
Malaysia has already contacted both the Romanian authorities, to arrange for the repatriation of the containers, and Interpol, asking for a further investigation. Romania has not yet commented on the case.
The world’s trash bin
Malaysia has become the world’s main destination for plastic waste in recent years after China banned imports of scrap. The Southeastern Asian country has been negotiating with origin countries to take back hundreds of containers of plastic that entered the country illegally. (Reuters)
Title image: Malaysian authorities and Malaysian Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (in the middle) opening one of the containers of hazardous heavy metals from Romania in front of reporters on July 19. (Image: Tuan Ibrahim Twitter)