A total of 100 illegal plastic waste recycling plants across the country will be shut down within the first three months of the year, Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment, Yeo Bee Yin said.
She said the Department of Environment (DOE) had set up state-level task forces that would plan and implement integrated operations in their respective states.
"To date, a total of 97 illegal plastic waste recycling plants have been identified nationwide, and we are confident of closing down 100 plants in the first quarter of this year.
"Strict action will also be imposed on licensed plastic recycling factory operators who do not comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974," she told reporters after participating in an enforcement operation against illegal plastic recycling plants around the Telok Gong Industrial Estate here, yesterday.
Also present were DOE director-general Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim and Port Klang state assemblyperson Azmizam Zaman Huri.
Yeo said Selangor had become a hotspot for illegal plastic waste recycling plants, with most located in the Kuala Langat and Klang parliamentary constituencies, and up to now, 61 factories had been subjected to enforcement.
She said apart from the 61 factories in Selangor, her ministry had detected six factories in Johor, 10 each in Kedah and Negeri Sembilan, Perak (seven), Penang (two) and Kelantan (one).
Yeo said the ministry had taken action against 20 of 48 licensed recycling plants for not complying with the Environmental Quality Act.
According to her, Malaysia had become a dumping site for illegal plastic waste from other countries, especially from January to July last year, and subsequently, the government decided to stop issuing approved permits (AP) to import the used plastic.