Bye bye plastic bags


Efforts to cut the use of plastic bags in Perak will begin in stages in June next year. Photos: SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star

FOLKS in Perak have lauded the state government’s decision to ban the usage of polystyrene containers and plastic bags beginning in June next year.

Perak Environment Committee Chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria said the ban will be enforced in stages starting with state government buildings this June. Cafeterias in the state’s buildings have to use biodegradable containers every Friday.

The second stage will see the ban extended from weekly to daily, starting January 2017.

The third stage, also set for January 2017, will cover the premises of all municipal councils in the state.

The fourth stage, starting June 2017, will see the use of polystyrene and plastic bags banned throughout the state.

For S. Selvamani, 52, enforcing the ban in stages is a good move, as people will have time to adapt to it.

“It is not a sudden move, which is good. It gives the people some breathing space.

“The government certainly sees the need for a cleaner environment, hence the move. Many people these days throw rubbish everywhere especially plastics and polystyrene.”

Having already used recyclable bags and food containers to store or keep things for almost three years, engineer Johan Lau, 34, said it is about time the state government enforced such a move.

“Awareness is also important. The state government, with the help of the Health Ministry and Environment and Natural Resources Ministry should come up with plans to educate the people.

“Enforcement is not enough. Education is important too,” said Lau.

Nur Iwani Rohizat, 20, originally from Penang, feels that the move is right.

Plastic bags and polystyrene containers, popularly used to hold rice and dishes at food stalls.
Plastic bags and polystyrene containers, popularly used to hold rice and dishes at food stalls.

“When I was in Penang, the state government there had already imposed a ban on plastic and polystyrene. We got used to it and realised how important the move was.

“Since we had to pay 20 cents for a plastic bag as a part of the ban, we started using our own bags made fabric. It is environmentally friendly.”

Restaurant owner Hoor Chong Yang said rules are rules and they have to be followed when it is implemented

“It is pointless to oppose the ban as it will lead to a better environment and I could actually save some money too since I won’t need to buy plastic bags!” said the 35 year old who lives in Bercham.

However, a grocery store owner, who wished to be known as Thilagar, feels that the move is not going to benefit the community.

“Well, I do support the ban of polystyrenes for food packaging, but it is going to be very difficult if people are not allowed to use plastic bags.

Food wrapped up in plastic and polystyrene packaging on sale at a roadside stall.
Food wrapped up in plastic and polystyrene packaging on sale at a roadside stall.

“For example, some of my customers don’t bring their recyclable bags or baskets to shop.

“I will have to charge extra for bags made from recyclable materials and the customers will not be happy if I do that,” he said.

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Environment , Perak , plastics ban

   

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