Malaysian officials are denying claims from a BBC documentary that mountains of plastic trash from Britain were illegally dumped in Perak

The controversy was first stirred when a trailer for a BBC One documentary showed presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall discovering mountains of rubbish from Britain which were marked for recycling dumped in a jungle near the town of Ipoh.
YouTube / BBC Trailers

Malaysia has denied Ipoh is being used as a dumping ground for Britain’s plastic, after a trailer for a BBC One documentary showed 20-foot-tall mounds of plastic waste stretching across a Malaysian jungle.

The Perak Department of Environment (DOE) said on Monday (May 27) that there were no unmanaged plastic dumps in Ipoh, and added that the report written by Daily Mail on the matter was inaccurate, Malay Mail reported.

The controversy was first stirred when a trailer for a BBC One documentary “War On Plastic” showed presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall discovering mountains of rubbish from Britain which were marked for recycling dumped in a jungle near the town of Ipoh, Daily Mail reported on May 25.

Read also: China’s waste ban has turned Malaysia into the world’s dumping ground – and now Malaysia’s climate change minister wants exporting countries to take their trash back

The DOE’s director Norazizi Adinan told Malay Mail that plastic waste was kept in a legally operating premise that processes plastic at IGB Industrial Park in Malaysia, and added that the premise was licensed by the Ipoh City Council.

According to Daily Mail, Hugh described the wasteland as a “dystopian nightmare” and “a plastic planet”. He also discovered many plastic packaging belonging to British brands.

Hugh – who is also a celebrity chef – claimed that the plastics were being dumped and burned in Malaysia, Daily Mail said.

Although the name of the dumping ground was not disclosed, the operations director of Resourceco Asia (M) Sdn Bhd has said that some of the footage might have been taken from the plastic recycling company’s storage area, The Star reported.

According to The Star, K. Muralindran said that a trespassing incident involving four Caucasians and three Malay­sians had occurred earlier in December.

“One of our security guards saw them and reported to me. They had cameras and were flying drones,” he was quoted by The Star as saying.

He added: “I approached them, wanting to explain our operations at the factory but they declined, saying that they had to be elsewhere.”

The plastic recycling factory collects approximately 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste from 50 companies nationwide every month to be turned into processed engineered fuel, The Star reported.

The company then sells the fuel to cement factories to replace coal, Muralindran said, adding that about 90,000 tonnes of the solid fuel could be produced annually.

“What we are doing is quite new and I can understand if people find the mounds of plastic waste an eyesore,” Muralindran was quoted by The Star as saying.

Correction: A earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the plastic recycling factory collected plastic waste from 50 countries. It has since been corrected to state 50 companies.

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