Speech by Phee Boon Poh, Penang State EXCO Member for Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee Chairman cum Vice-Chairman of Penang Green Council on 23 November 2018 during “No Single Use Plastic” Poster Exhibition Press Conference at ICT Mall.
First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you for spending your time attending this press conference of “No Single-Use Plastics” poster exhibition.
In conjunction with the implementation of the “No Single-Use Plastics” green initiative which will kick start in 1 January 2019, the State Government through the Penang Green Council has organized a poster drawing competition involving primary and secondary school students in Penang. The objective of the competition is to encourage students to think critically about the growing waste issues in Penang.
For this competition, we have received 222 entries from the students. This exhibition is one of the publicity mediums for the “No Single-Use Plastics” initiative that will be implemented next year. This exhibition is aimed to nurture and educate the public on the importance of reducing their single use plastics usage in everyday life.
The purpose of implementing the “No Single-Use Plastics” initiative is to reduce the impact of pollution and waste problems caused by the use of disposable plastic. As MESTECC has contemplated recently in “Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastic”, the state and federal governments intend to promote the development and transition of the plastic industry into the green economy sector. The aim of this initiative is also in line with the United Nations and Sustainable Development Goals 12 that responds to consumer responsibility and productivity (responsible consumption and production).
To understand the public’s perceptions of this new initiative, Penang Green Council conducted a survey from 1 August – 9 Sep 2018 involving the public as well as food and beverage entrepreneurs around Penang. A total of 1948 respondents ranging from 15 to 60 years old participated in the survey conducted through the Penang Green Council website, social media and roadshow.
Based on the initial conclusions of the survey analysis, 75.6% of the public support the implementation of the “No Single-Use Plastics” policy, only 14.1% do not support and the rest do not have any views.
In addition, a survey conducted on 231 food and beverage operators also found that 59.7% of respondents support the implementation of this policy and only 11.3% do not support. Detailed reports on surveys conducted will be published online soon.
We urge all parties involved either food stall operators, the public, private parties and others can cooperate to make this new initiative as a new page opened by Penangites during the launch of a free plastic bag campaign in 2009.
After both local governments forbid the usage of single use plastics, the state government also decided to no longer supply plastic water cups in meetings at KOMTAR. This means that the State’s main meeting room on the 28th floor, 52nd floor and 53th floor will no longer be providing plastic water cups.
The state government has also provided an allocation of 500 stainless steel cups for the meeting room. We believe that such paradigm shift is expected to save more money and protect the environment.
In addition, the state government has provided 1,000 stainless steel thermos to state government officials, Grade A & Grade B officers from MBPP and MPSP to encourage government employees to use their own water mug (Bring Your Own Mug).
We hope that such government actions can be emulated by consumers and implemented in their daily activities. Consumers are also encouraged to find other alternatives to reduce the usage of single-use plastics such as carrying their own beverage containers and always carry reusable shopping bags.