Law to control the use of plastic bags vital, say activists

Some of the plastic wastes end up in rivers and seas.

MIRI: Environmental activists have called authorities to introduce a law to ban the use of plastic bags in shopping complexes and supermarkets.

Miri Malaysian Nature Society adviser (for campaign on waste pollution) Dr Loh Yunn Hwa said it was high time for retailers to stop giving plastic bags to customers.

“Supermarkets and shopping complexes must stop this or there will be mountains of plastic wastes in cities such as Miri, which has huge problems with wastes, particularly plastic materials.

“Miri City Council (MCC) has tried persuading the public not to indiscriminately dispose plastic waste but the campaign had failed, she said in response to the failure of MCC’s “Say No To Plastic” campaign.

The habit of indiscriminate dumping of wastes, especially plastic bags and bottles, seemed hard to kick, Dr Loh said, adding that most of these wastes ended up in the rivers and seas instead of being recycled.

Miri Red Crescent recycling unit adviser Judy Wan Morshidi concurred with Dr Loh that stricter measures should be implemented to reduce pollution from plastic wastes in Miri.

She hoped education campaigns in schools would help inculcate caring attitude towards the environment among schoolchildren.

“I was involved in the ‘Say No To Plastic’ campaign when I was a city councillor .

“It was frustrating that the campaign failed to get support from the public.

“I believe we need to use the full force of the law,” she said.

Miri mayor Adam Yii recently said the campaign failed to garner the support of the business community and the public in Miri.

He said it was up to the state’s Local Government Ministry to impose a law refraining supermarkets and shopping centres from providing plastic bags to shoppers.

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