C4 Center Research Project: Malaysia is not a “Garbage Dump”

Plastic waste has become a serious environmental threat globally with grave impacts on developing countries. In 2018, China banned the import of 24 types of solid waste including plastics in effort to clean up their environment. 

That year, Malaysia became the world’s top destination for plastic waste exports, importing more than 850,000 tonnes of plastic waste. Non-recyclable municipal waste from developed countries was also found dumped in the country. These led to a sharp rise in illegal recycling facilities and cases of indiscriminate burning and dumping, causing land, water, and air pollution that affected communities nationwide.  

C4 Center conducted research from November 2019 to March 2021 to examine how massive amounts of plastic waste were brought into Malaysia and processed illegally, seemingly with ease. Research findings are presented in a special report, with policy briefs and webinars focusing on key areas.

C4 Center Report

Executive Summary

Malaysia is Not a “Garbage Dump”: Citizens Against Corruption, Complacency, Crime, and Climate Crisis


Briefing Papers

C4 Center Brief No. 1: Good Governance and the Global Plastic Waste Trade (March 2021)

C4 Center Brief No. 2: Counting the Costs for Human Rights and the Environment (November 2021)


Report Launch and Webinar: Malaysia is Not a “Garbage Dump”: Challenges in the Global Plastic Waste Trade and Ways Forward by C4 Center and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) (March 16, 2021)

Press release: More transparency, stringency needed to preserve human rights and environment from plastic waste imports

Media reports:

Consider This: Plastic Waste (Part 2) – Corruption, weak regulation, lax enforcement (Astro Awani, Apr 2, 2021)

Yeo calls for ‘complete’ plastic dumping ban (The Vibes, Apr 6, 2021)

C4 Centre lends voice to growing calls for total plastic waste ban (The Vibes, Apr 9, 2021)

Political musical chairs hindering green policies, say observers (The Vibes, Apr 10, 2021)

Webinar: Malaysia is Not a “Garbage Dump”: Enhancing Monitoring and Enforcement Efforts in Kedah and Penang by C4 Center and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) (July 29, 2021)

Press release: C4 Center-SAM joint forum against imported plastic waste sheds light on impact

Media reports:

Unable to take pollution in Sg Petani, green activist moves to Penang (Free Malaysia Today, Jul 29, 2021)

Forum calls for good strong governance in tackling imported waste (The Star, Aug 12, 2021)

Infographics: English | Malay

Stakeholder Consultation: Stakeholder Consultation on Human Rights and Plastic Waste Imports in Malaysia by C4 Center and Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) (November 19, 2021)

Media reports:

Monitor borders to avoid Malaysia from becoming plastic waste dumping ground (The Malaysian Reserve, Nov 22, 2021)

Related Articles

Unhealthy air and plastic waste: The nexus of pollution, public health and corruption (Asia Global Online, Aug 20, 2020)

Time to clean up plastic pollution – and corruption (Malaysiakini, Jul 4, 2021)

Malaysia: A plastic pandemic (Reporting ASEAN, Oct 2, 2021)

Malaysia still grappling with 2018 imported plastic waste problems (Malay Mail, Dec 17, 2021)

Malaysia masih dibelenggu isu sisa plastik import 2018 (Astro Awani, Dec 17, 2021)

Macam mana nak selesai ni? (Harian Metro, Dec 18, 2021)

Related Podcasts and Videos

Malaysia is not a “garbage dump” (BFM, March 29, 2021)

Should we ban plastic waste imports? (BFM, June 4, 2021)

The links between plastic pollution and corruption (BFM, Jul 12, 2021)

The Waste Trade: How Southeast Asia Become a Global Dumpyard (Mekong-ASEAN Environmental Week 2021, Part 2: Crises and Actions, Sept 26, 2021)

Good Governance That ASEAN Needs (Mekong-ASEAN Environmental Week 2021, Part 3: Redesign ASEAN, panel on “Redesign ASEAN: The Voice From the Region’s Future”, Sept 30, 2021)




All publications by C4 Center are downloadable for free. Much resources and funds have been put into ensuring that we conduct cutting edge research work for these issues to be brought to the attention of the general public, authorities, as well as public policymakers and lawmakers. If you like our work, please do consider supporting us by donating to us. Your financial support will go a long way in ensuring that we can continue fighting for a clean, and better, Malaysia.