Malaysia: Import quota needed on plastic waste, says MPMA

rashvinjeet s. bedi The Star 14 Oct 18;

PETALING JAYA: The government should set a quota on how much plastic waste can be imported into the country, says the Malaysian Manufacturers Plastic Association (MPMA).

MPMA recycling sub-committee chairman C.C. Cheah said that the local industry only needed sufficient imports that it could handle.

“We don't want to import the whole world's waste…We do not want limitless imports,” he told The Star Online in an interview.

In July, the Housing and Local Government Ministry revoked the Approved Permits (APs) for plastic waste imports, affecting 114 legal plastic waste factories nationwide for three months until Oct 23.

Cheah said that they agreed with the ban, although some legit local recycling operators faced a shortage of materials, affecting their operations.

“We regret that but unfortunately, it has to happen to protect the sustainability of the industry," he said.

“The plastic recycling industry should be allowed to go about in its activities provided that it is regulated,” added Cheah.

China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, leading to a huge impact on the global recycling system.

As a result, the waste from countries such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand was offloaded to places such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to official statistics, the amount of plastic waste imported into the Malaysia almost doubled from RM274mil in 2016 to RM490mil in 2017.

Only those with APs can import plastic waste, but according to Cheah, there was a possibility that some operators sold the waste they imported to illegal ones.

The government has now made it compulsory for those wanting to import waste to get the ISO 14000 certification by June 2019.

The ISO 14000 family of standards provides practical tools for companies and organisations of all kinds looking to manage their environmental responsibilities.

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Humanitarians see surge in climate-related disasters

Nina LARSON, AFP Yahoo News 12 Oct 18;

Geneva (AFP) - The number of climate-related disasters around the world is growing rapidly, humanitarians warned Friday, urging more efforts to prepare and build resilience to looming changes on a warming planet.

Climate shocks are already driving displacement, causing many to go hungry and are sparking or exacerbating conflicts around the globe, humanitarian workers said, cautioning that the situation is quickly deteriorating.

"With climate change, the shocks and hazards are multiplying," Elhadj As Sy, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told AFP in an interview.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Geneva on the impact of climate change on humanitarian situations around the globe, he cautioned that such "shocks" were "getting more frequent and more severe."

Friday's conference was aimed at unpacking the humanitarian implications of the findings in a landmark UN climate report this week, which warned drastic action was needed to prevent Earth from hurtling towards an unbearable rise in temperature.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) said the globe's surface has already warmed one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) -- enough to lift oceans and unleash a crescendo of deadly storms, floods and droughts -- and is on track toward an unliveable 3C or 4C rise.

- 'Pressure cooker' -

Gernot Laganda, who heads the World Food Programme's climate and disaster risk reduction division, pointed out that climate shocks are already "significant drivers of displacement", forcing 22.5 million people to leave their homes each year.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, he also decried the "increasingly distractive interplay between conflict and climate disasters."

He pointed out that the world's 10 most conflict-affected countries, including Syria, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also impacted by extreme weather events, creating a so-called "pressure-cooker" effect.

Laganda pointed to projections that if the planet warms just 2C, 189 million more people than today will become food insecure.

"And if it is a four-degree warmer world ... we're looking beyond one billion more," he said, adding that this "is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action."

Sy meanwhile said humanitarians had already seen a dramatic increase in climate and weather-related crises.

"In the 1970s, we used to be dealing with 80 to 100 severe weather-related shocks and hazards" each year, he said, contrasting that to last year, when the number was around 400 -- "four times more."

While acknowledging that climate-related shocks would likely keep climbing, Sy emphasised that it was not inevitable that such shocks and hazards should "become a disaster."

"We need to be better prepared with early warning and with early alert," he said, also stressing the importance for IFRC of continuously having volunteers on the ground in affected communities to help them to adapt to climate change.

The organisation counts some 70 million volunteers around the world, so when climate-linked shocks and hazards hit, they "find us already there," he said.

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