Traders at wet markets still provide plastic bags

Shoppers are given free plastic bags for any purchase at the Meru market.

MINI markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets have stopped providing free plastic bags to consumers following the Selangor Government’s policy to reduce plastic use implemented from Jan 1 this year.

If needed, consumers are required to pay a minimum of 20sen per plastic bag at the counter.

However, the situation was different at wet markets and morning markets where plastic bags were still readily made available.

This is because the state allows traders to provide free plastic bags for the purchase of wet, fresh and loose items such as chicken, fish and tuber vegetables.

A random survey conducted by StarMetro at several morning markets in Klang and the wet market in Jalan Meru revealed that traders were offering free plastic bags for almost every item.

Petty traders who sell various types of items including clothes at morning markets were also found offering free plastic bags to the customers.

Susan Tan, 45, who patronised the morning market in Taman Klang Jaya, said she was surprised to notice plastic bags were freely offered to customers at the market.

She said she forgot about the new policy and only realised it upon noticing some of the other shoppers carrying their own bags.

“Otherwise, I was not reminded of the new policy on plastic by any of the traders, including those selling non-food items,” she said.

Jamilah Abdul Hamid, 55, from Meru, said she decided to carry her own bag because she had the impression that plastic bags would not be offered to customers.

However, she said, it seemed to be business as usual as all the traders at the market were offering customers free plastic bags.

“They are offering free plastics even if you buy pre-packed items like onions, garlic and mushrooms,” she said.

Meanwhile, state environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said traders who were selling loose, fresh and wet items were allowed to give away free plastic bags.

The no-free plastic bag ruling, Wong said, was applicable to all retailers in general except for the specified items.

“All those found not complying with the ruling will be fined RM1,000,” she said.

The new policy was implemented along with a total ban on polystyrene in Selangor from Jan 1.

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