The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) in collaboration with its members manufacturing polystyrene, is organising a “Litter Free Thaipusam 2015” campaign during the festival, beginning with the chariot procession on Feb 2.
The campaign aims to address the real problem behind the “eyesore” that polystyrene (PS) lunch boxes as well as plastic packaging products become when they end up as litter on the streets, caused by careless human behaviour, during a large festival such as Thaipusam.
PS lunch boxes (or commonly referred to as tapau boxes) are widely used and accepted by the public for food packaging.
Convenient and safe (approved by the Food Safety and Quality Division of the Health Ministry), PS lunch boxes are also recyclable and in fact, contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions.
MPMA firmly believes that the “eyesore” associated with PS lunch boxes and other plastic packaging products during the festival is ultimately caused by litterbugs.
The campaign aims to highlight littering issues and in particular PS and plastics litter; to encourage behavourial change towards littering, and to increase awareness of the 3Rs of plastics.
The campaign will involve over 300 people in teams who will assist Thaipusam devotees and the public to dispose of litter correctly.
There will be specially prepared disposal bins marked ‘plastics’ for plastic waste such as PS lunch boxes and plastic bottles or bags, and ‘others’ for other waste.
This approach is also intended to educate the public on the concept of separating waste for disposal.
Teams will be positioned along the chariot procession route from Jalan Bandar Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves on Feb 2, as well as in and around surrounding areas in Batu Caves on Feb 2 and 3 during Thaipusam.
Such pro-active environmental friendly campaigns are regularly carried out by MPMA and on-going efforts include the “Don’t Be A Litterbug” as well as ‘3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ campaigns.
These efforts have also been acknowledged by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (MNRE) in their Malaysia Environment Week 2013, where MPMA received a Special Acknowledgement Award in the Leading Contributor towards Environmental Sustainability category.