Bans alone won’t reduce plastic usage

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) should get their hands dirty and not depend on bans alone to get people to reduce their plastic use, said the presidents of two local environmental groups.

Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (PEKA) president, Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, told Bernama: “The government needs to take the crucial step and get to the root of the problem, which is taking action against factories that produce single-use and non-biodegradable plastic.”

In this way, throwaway plastic will not be easily attainable and the environment will benefit, said Shariffa, while recommending the use of steel, bamboo and paper products instead.

She said she is sad there is lax enforcement on non-biodegradable product use and that Malaysians are still unaware of the negative impact of plastic consumption.

“The government should really focus on this matter. And instead of depending on policies, it must educate citizens on the importance of preserving our environment,” she said.

Malaysia Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail, said NGOs play a vital role in running campaigns for schools and the private sector to enlighten on plastic pollution.

“Banning single-use plastic and straws won’t be effective if the public is unaware of the reasons behind the policy. Education should be in line with current developments,” he said.

The Selangor government’s ban on plastic straws comes into force on July 1, while Perak is still weighing up the situation.

Last October, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Yeo Bee Yin, launched the Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 to do away with single-use plastic. – Bernama