The General Department of Customs and Excise has extended the deadline by one month for Chungyuen Plastic Manufacturers to return 83 containers filled with plastic rubbish back to their origins after they were fraudulently imported.
Chungyuen Plastic Manufacturers was initially told by the GDCE to return all of the containers to the United States and Canada by August 24.
In a statement on Friday, GDCE said the company has returned 14 of the containers and paid a $250,000 fine, but requested for more time in order to ship back the rest.
It noted the decision to extend the deadline was based on bad weather conditions, adding that the Ministry of Finance agreed to extend the deadline.
“We agreed to the request. We understood the issues the company raised,” GDCE director-general Kun Nhim said by phone on Friday. “It needs time to send back all these rubbish-filled containers.”
Representatives of Chungyuen could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Von Hernandez, global coordinator for the Break Free from Plastic movement, on Saturday said it was immoral for industrialised countries to export unwanted waste to developing countries.
“They know that countries in the region do not have the capacity to recycle and deal with these contaminated shipments in an environmentally sound manner,” Mr Hernandez said. “This is essentially waste dumping being justified in the guise of recycling.”
He said that countries like the US and Canada are guilty of using developing countries like Cambodia as waste bins.
“These [developed] countries pride themselves as having clean environments and effective environmental regulations – yet they are guilty of using poorer countries as waste bins for stuff that they also do not know how to properly manage,” Mr Hernandez said. “Citizens of industrialised countries have been led to believe that their plastic wastes are being managed in proper recycling facilities.”
“When in fact, they were exported to the Global South where they end up polluting what used to be pristine areas and communities,” he added. “By taking advantage of poor conditions and lax regulations in developing countries, industrialised exporter countries are guilty of perpetuating environmental racism and discrimination.”
Mr Hernandez noted that the solution to plastic pollution lies in reducing the amount of plastics produced. He said it is up to countries like the US to reduce the production of plastic.
“They need to clean up their act and develop their own national recycling infrastructure instead of exporting their problems elsewhere,” he said.