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Firm returns 14 rubbish-filled containers to contries of origin

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Eighty-three containers at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port were broken open on July 16 and found to be filled with almost 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste. MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT

Firm returns 14 rubbish-filled containers to contries of origin

Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture Co Ltd has returned 14 containers of plastic waste found at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port last month to their countries of origin. It also paid a one billion riel ($250,000) fine, the General Department of Customs and Excise said on Friday.

The company had, as of Saturday, paid the more than one billion riel fine into the national budget for illegally importing the waste, as well as docking and shipping fees.

It transported the 14 containers on Tuesday, the General Department of Customs and Excise added.

The company, owned by Cambodian businessman Suon Lok, has requested that the return of the remaining containers be delayed until October.

“Bad weather has caused a backlog at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, so Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture has requested that the deadline for returning the remaining 69 containers to their countries of origin be put back to October 25,” the General Department of Customs and Excise said.

The government late last month gave the firm the Saturday deadline to return the 83 rubbish-filled containers to the US and Canada.

The plastic waste, weighing 1,562 tonnes, was illegally imported into Cambodia on 27 separate occasions from September last year to January this year.

Seventy containers, weighing 1,322 tonnes, were imported from the US, while the remaining 13, weighing 270 tonnes, came from Canada. The containers went through ports in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam before arriving in Cambodia.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post that the government had, on Saturday, issued a three-point plan for the company to follow.

“If Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture fails to comply with it, the General Department of Customs and Excise will take legal action, ” Pheaktra said on Sunday.

He declined to say whether the 14 containers had been returned to the US or Canada, referring questions to the General Department of Customs and Excise.

Neither Kun Nhem, the director-general of the General Department of Customs and Excise, nor Jenn Gearey, the communications manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada, could be reached for comment on Sunday.

When contacted, US embassy spokesperson Emily Zeeberg said the mission had no comment on the matter.

Eighty-three containers at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port were broken open by joint authorities on July 16 and found to be filled with almost 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste.

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