The practice of advanced countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan sending their non-recyclable waste to poorer countries is “grossly unfair” and should stop, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday.

Mahathir comments during a visit to Tokyo on came days after his government announced plans to return thousands of tons of imported plastic waste back to where it came from.

“It is grossly unfair for rich countries to send their waste to poor countries simply because poor countries have no choice and maybe it contributes a little to their economy,” Mahathir said at a news conference. “We don’t need your waste because our own waste is enough to give us problems.”

A container is filled with plastic waste from Australia, in Port Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia says it will send back some 3,000 metric tonnes (330 tons) of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations. (AP Photo / Vincent Thian)
A container is filled with plastic waste from Australia, in Port Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia says it will send back some 3,000 metric tonnes (330 tons) of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations. (AP Photo / Vincent Thian)

China banned the import of plastic waste last year, leading several Southeast Asian nations to become new targets.

The Philippines said last week it would ship back dozens of containers of garbage it says Canada illegally sent in 2013-2014.

“You give us the waste then you are going to have us insist that we pollute the environment by getting rid of the waste,” Mahathir said. “But please remember that when you pollute one part of the world you pollute the rest of the world also.”

Officers from the Ministry of Environment examine a container full of non-recyclable plastic which was detained by authorities at the west port in Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia environment minister Yeo Bee Yin says Malaysia has become a dumping ground for the world's plastic waste, and the country has begun sending non-recyclable plastic scrap to the developed countries of origin. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Officers from the Ministry of Environment examine a container full of non-recyclable plastic which was detained by authorities at the west port in Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia environment minister Yeo Bee Yin says Malaysia has become a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste, and the country has begun sending non-recyclable plastic scrap to the developed countries of origin. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Non-recyclable plastic found inside a container from Australia is detained by authorities at the west port in Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia environment minister Yeo Bee Yin says Malaysia has become a dumping ground for the world's plastic waste and the country has begun sending non-recyclable plastic scrap to the developed countries of origin. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Non-recyclable plastic found inside a container from Australia is detained by authorities at the west port in Klang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Malaysia environment minister Yeo Bee Yin says Malaysia has become a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste and the country has begun sending non-recyclable plastic scrap to the developed countries of origin. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad delivers a keynote speech at the special session of the International Conference on
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad delivers a keynote speech at the special session of the International Conference on “The Future of Asia” Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)