Speech by YB Phee Boon Poh, Penang State EXCO Member for Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee Chairman cum Vice-Chairman of Penang Green Council during the launching of Penang Green Idol 2019 in conjunction with Earth Day celebration on 13th April 2019:
Good morning and welcome everyone to Penang Hill!
In conjunction with Earth Day which falls on 22nd of April annually, Penang Green Council organises Penang Green Idol once again to explore the young talents through poem recital competition today here this year.
This will be a platform for our future leaders to share their green ideas and thoughts on environmental issues. The two themes this year “The Beauty of Nature” and “Dangers of Smoking” were selected as Penang strives to be the first green-led and smart state that would inspire the nation by 2030. It is definitely a long journey and the state will need all your support to achieve our goals in line with the Penang Structure Plan 2030.
Despite being the first state in the country to implement “No Free Plastic Bags Everyday” policy, Penang is now entering another stage of No Single-Use Plastic by kicking off the Kempen ‘Tak Nak Straw’. This no straw by default initiative is also aligned with Malaysia’s ambition to be single-use plastics free by 2030, guided by MESTECC’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-use Plastics.
We need to take action now by reducing single-use plastic, not just because our country is ranked as 8th among the top 10 countries with mismanaged plastic waste in the world, but also because our beautiful nature and future generation are drowning in plastics. The sad truth is, Malaysians are still big consumers of plastic straws and bags. So please, let us work this out to ensure a better world for our children and to protect our only Earth.
As we urge for a Cleaner, Greener, Healthier, Safer and Happier Penang, a healthy living lifestyle is also very important for every Penangites. The implementation of the smoking ban at eateries nationwide have started at the beginning of the year, whereby all smokers are not allowed to smoke within 10 feet from the non-smoking zone. According to the study headed by Professor Dr Maizurah Omar of USM, the ban was effective in helping people kick the habit as they saw fewer people smoking around them. But it would take three years to achieve full public compliance with the ban.
We want to say goodbye to both single-use plastic and hazardous air for a healthier and more sustainable living. Today, we are happy to see the participation of all contestants because youth has the power to transform our society. Strong environmental awareness is the key to influence and to change. But always remember, actions speak louder than words. So just do it.
Without further ado, I hereby officiate the Penang Green Idol Poem Recital Competition and I wish every contestant a joyful and fruitful day. Happy Earth Day in advance!
Phee Boon Poh