The Rhondda AM has called upon the Labour Government to provide assurances about recycling efforts after waste from Rhondda Cynon Taf was allegedly found dumped in a jungle in Asia.
Leanne Wood said it was vital that people in Wales were given confidence that their recycling efforts were not in vain in light of a BBC documentary about plastic waste found piled up at a Malaysian beauty spot. The allegations were subsequently denied by local government officials in Malaysia.
During a plenary session, Ms Wood said: “Members may have heard about allegations that waste from Wales, including Rhondda Cynon Taf, was found piled up in a Malaysian jungle. This was said to be discovered by a team from the BBC, ahead of a programme on plastic waste.
“The allegation was that this waste from the UK was not being recycled, but was just dumped on a beauty spot. I've since seen other reports from Malaysia refuting these allegations, stating that the plastic waste was kept at legally operating premises and was destined to be turned into processed engineered fuel.
“Now, I'm concerned that there may be a level of mistrust now about recycling, and all the hard work that has got people to change their habits over the last 15 years risks now being undone.
“So, can you tell us what efforts are being made by the Government to ensure that our recycling is dealt with properly and ethically, ideally as close to home as possible? And how can you provide reassurance to recyclers in Wales that our green efforts are not in vain?”
Labour Government Trefnydd Rebecca Evans replied: “Welsh Government is concerned if we hear of waste that has not been disposed of in an appropriate way, which is why we're really keen to develop our own recycling and processing capacity here in Wales. And I know that the Deputy Minister is doing a lot of work in order to make this possible.
“Clearly, we have an excellent reputation here in Wales as being world leaders in recycling, and it's important that we maintain the people's trust and do undertake their recycling in good faith on a daily basis, so I'll certainly raise this matter directly with the Minister.
“I know that she is intending to bring forward a statement, but I'll see when we can accommodate that within the Plenary timetable.”
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