Perak has joined other states namely Selangor, Penang, KL, Johor and Malacca, to ban the use of biodegradable containers especially polystyrene effective 1st June 2017. This does not augur well for the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) members who have strongly objected such move as it will affect the members of the industry.
During a forum on plastics jointly organised by Ipoh City Watch (ICW), MPMA (Perak Branch), Perak SWCorp, Ipoh City Council and Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Berhad (KOHIJAU) held at a local hotel in Ipoh, Datuk Rusnah Kassim, the Perak State Exco in charge of Local Government, who officiated the forum, has thrown a challenge to MPMA to prove two things; how plastics could be reduce plastics from going to the landfills, illegal dumpsites and beaches and what solution MPMA can offer to help reduce the impact of plastics on our health and environment. At the moment, the Perak government stood firm on its decision to ban the use of polystyrene and plastic bags effective 1st June 2017.
As one of the four panelists during the forum entitled “The Impact of Plastics on the Sustainability of Environment: Should Plastics be banned?” attended by about 200 participants, I put forward our points from ICW that we supported the government’s move in banning the use polystyrene and plastic bags. I made my points cleared that by 2020, if nothing is done by us, Perak will generate 3 billion tonnes of garbage of which 450,000 tonnes or about 15% of the total garbage, comes from plastics. As plastics take a few hundred years to degrade thus it will have impact on the sustainability of our environment. Plastics are also made from petroleum which is a non-renewable source of energy.
The general perception of the people is that chemicals used to make plastics can leech into the food after a prolonged used at certain temperature even though there is no concrete evidence to support this at the moment. Moreover, plastics such as polystyrene and plastic bags can be recycled as claimed there is lack of interest from the public to collect such items as recyclables due to its low value.
At the end of the forum, all the four panelists have agreed that we should give the 800 members of MPMA Perak Branch a chance to prove themselves to help find a solution to the challenge thrown by Datuk Rusnah Kassim. Thus moving forward, ICW, using its recycling unit KOHIJAU, has set up the Perak Action Team for a Sustainable Environment (PATSE) in collaboration with Perak MPMA, Perak SWCorp, Rukun Tetangga Jelapang and Lions Club of Perak Silver State. The main objective is to come out with action plans which will help educate, engage and excite the people to involve and embrace 3R (Reuse, Reduce & Recycle) and promote a clean and healthy environment.
Among the members of PATSE include Associate Professor Dr. Richard Ng (Chairman), Johnson Poon (MPMA), Puan Hajah Fatimah Ahmad (SWCorp Perak), Thinakaran Sarangabanly (Rukun Tetangga), Lim Hong Lian (Lions Club of Perak Silver State), and social activist and environmental researchers, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Chin Seong, Dr. Lai, Dr. Subarna, Dr. Raj Paramjothy, Olivia Cheah and Sharon Ng Kar Mei.
The team will go on a state-wide campaign starting with a gotong royong cum 3R talk in the District of Mualim in October. YB Datuk Rusnah Kassim, has been invited to officially launch the programme. Other districts which PATSE has identified include Batang Padang, Manjung, Kinta and Larut Matang Selama.
PATSE will also hold talks in schools and with any organisations that are keen to participate in this programme. They will be briefed on 3R, garbage separation and composting in order to reduce garbage from going to the landfills or oceans. KOHIJAU will supply recycling bins to participating schools, organisations and residential associations and buy all recyclables collected.
For further information, kindly visit www.ipohcitywatch.org or whatsapp 013-5330989