Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ban use of plastic bags in KL

Source: (By LIM CHIA YING, 9/1/2010)

The Penang and Selangor governments’ move for ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ has prompted 10 Kuala Lumpur MPs to petition for the city to follow suit. They are pushing for the initiative following the successful campaign in Penang since last July, while some retailers in Selangor had started the campaign last Saturday. The 10 MPs who signed the petition were Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Titiwangsa MP Dr Lo’lo’ Mohamad Ghazali, Bandar Tun Razak MP Tan Sri Abd Khalid Ibrahim, Batu MP Tian Chua, Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. Representing them were Lim, Nurul Izzah, and Tian Chua who were present at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) building in Jalan Raja Laut to hand over the petition to the mayor.

Nurul Izzah said in October last year, the Water, Green Technology and Power Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fa Kui had announced that a national campaign to ban the use of plastic bags would be carried out as one of the ways to conserve the environment and promote green technology.

“However, up until today, it has still not been implemented. “As Selangor has moved towards that stage recently, we wish to follow in their footsteps which is why we hope the DBKL could take the lead with this initiative,” she said. “Kuala Lumpur actually produces a lot of waste. In fact, I’ve done some research and learnt that only 5% of solid waste in Malaysia is being recycled,” said Tian Chua. “Compare this with Singapore where 30% of its solid waste is being recycled. It shows that our country is still far behind in this recycling aspect,” he said.

“By default, Kuala Lumpur as a Federal Territory should take the lead to spearhead the ban of plastic bags in the city,” said Lim. “Contrary to the worries of some in the retail industry, many urban shoppers nowadays prefer plastic bag alternatives because they care about the environment, and would likely shop at retailers who are doing their bit,” he said.

Nurul Izzah said in Selangor, the state government had invited the hypermarkets and supermarkets in implementing the campaign and said the DBKL, too, could do the same. “Once it is implemented, the DBKL could impose charges on those still wanting to use plastic bags on Saturdays, like what retailers in Selangor are doing. “Hopefully in future, we won’t have to impose charges on consumers once they are used to not having plastic bags,” she said.

“Some shocking facts about plastic bags that people should know - plastic bags are made of polyethylene which is a petroleum product; it takes about 1,000 years for polyethylene to break down; when polyethylene does break down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain which can choke animals to death as animals often mistake them for food. And plastic is the main culprit for drain clogs,” said Lim.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Penang has extended its once-a-week campaign to three times a week, and announced that from this year on, it would not renew the licence of businesses that did not support the state’s plastic bag reduction policy. In the report, it is said that data provided by 45 hypermarkets and supermarkets showed that plastic bag consumption has dropped by more than a million since the campaign started.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a politicised / publicised way to sell the idea of controlling the use of plastic bags in KL surely killed the idea in its infancy. The Datuk Bandar already reacted in kind by firmly saying no to the idea. I wish the Pakatan MPs could have used a more friendly approach.

I hope this is not a one-time "I did something, it's just for show, bye-bye" effort. If the Pakatan MPs are really serious about this, they should talk to the various NGOs such as Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam (based in TTDI), the Global Environment Centre (GCE) and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) on the solutions.

For example, Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam started a bring-your-own-container campaign during the Ramadan bazaar in TTDI. They could use some help to implement it KL-wide. Are the Pakatan MPs up to the task?