An illegal plastic waste container at a port in Sihanoukville city, Cambodia, on July 17 (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodian officials affirmed that strict measures have been taken to curb the illegal import of plastic waste after detecting 83 containers filled with the waste at a sea port last month.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on August 6 that relevant agencies, especially the customs force, will intensify inspections and share information with other countries in the region.

Meanwhile, director general of the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) Kun Nhim noted that Cambodian law bans plastic waste import in all forms, and violators will face penalty.

He said any company found importing plastic waste or other hazardous waste will be fined and ordered to return it to the country or countries of origin.

On July 16, Cambodian authorities discovered 83 containers filled with plastic waste at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Preah Sihanouk  province. The waste, weighing a total 1,592 tonnes, was shipped from the US and Canada by Chunggyuen Plastic Manufacture Co., Ltd., during the time from September 2018 to January 2019.

The GDCE fined the company over 1 billion riels (253,900 USD) and warned that the agency will take the company to court if it fails to send the waste back to the country of origin by the deadline.

Pheaktra said Cambodia encourages investors to set up plastic waste factories to recycle “domestic” plastic waste because the country is also suffering from plastic pollution.

According to the spokesman, Cambodia discharges nearly 4 million tonnes of rubbish a year, in which 20 percent is plastic waste.-VNA