Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – The Cambodian Government has fined Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture 250,000 USD for importing 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste from the US and Canada.

The company was ordered to return the waste to the US and Canada by August 24, said Kun Nhim, head of Cambodia’s Customs Department, adding that the firm will receive further sanctions if it fails to send back the shipment on time and pay the fine.

The waste was discovered in 83 containers in Sihanoukville port earlier this month, of which 70 were from the US and the rest from Canada. The case caused outrage among local officials.

China’s ban on plastic waste imports from last year has thrown global recycling sector into crisis, forcing developed countries to find new places to send waste. As a result, a huge amount of waste has been sent to Southeast Asian ports.

Cambodia is the most recent country to refuse waste imports. Earlier this month, Indonesia returned dozens of containers full of waste to France and other developed countries. In May this year, Malaysia also shipped 450 tonnes of imported plastic waste back to its source.

Each year, about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is released to the environment, most of which is not recycled but buried or thrown into the ocean.-VNA