Romania investigates toxic waste shipment found in Malaysia

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania said on Tuesday it was investigating the circumstances around an illegal shipment of hazardous heavy metals found in Malaysia at the weekend and would seek to punish any wrongdoing behind it.

Malaysia said the abandoned shipment of 110 containers of toxic waste came from Romania and was its largest such find, according to state news agency Bernama.

It wants Romania to arrange for the retrieval of the shipment, which was bound for Indonesia and contained electric arc furnace dust (EAFD) - a by-productof steel production that contains heavy metals.

"Preliminary data indicates the respective transport was not exported out of Romania as waste but as concentrated zinc," Romania’s environment ministry told Reuters in a statement.

The exporter is a company from the central county of Ilfov near Bucharest, the statement said, without naming it.

"The investigation is ongoing and if the shipment is returned to Romania, authorities will ensure the waste is disposed of according to the law and that those responsible will be held accountable," it said.

Malaysia in recent years became the world's main destination for plastic waste after China banned imports of scrap.

It has been negotiating with origin countries to take back hundreds of containers of plastic that entered the country illegally.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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