In a statement released on Tuesday, Malaysia's Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said his nation will not be a dumping ground for western countries. Yeo said that his government is planning on returning more than 3,300 tonnes of plastic waste to countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
The Malaysian minister accused western nations of dumping their waste in many developing countries after China banned the import of plastic waste last year.
"This is probably just the tip of the iceberg (due) to the banning of plastic waste by China," Yeo told a news conference. "Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world ... we will fight back. Even though we are a small country, we can't be bullied by developed countries."
"We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping the garbage out to the developing countries," she said, calling such practices "unfair and uncivilized."
She said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste were smuggled in en route to illegal processing facilities in the country and will be sent back to their countries of origin.
Yeo added that ten containers are due to be shipped back to their countries of origin within in the next two weeks. Ten of the containers are due to be shipped back within two weeks, she said, as she showed reporters contents of the waste at a port outside Kuala Lumpur.