Plastic bags to be sold at RM1

Phee (middle) advising shoppers to reduce the usage of plastic bags at the cashier counter of a shopping centre in Seberang Jaya. Present is Seberang Prai City Council mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud (with white cap). — Filepic

PLASTIC bags will be sold at RM1 each at shopping malls in Penang beginning 2023.

State environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the price of plastic bags, currently sold at 20 sen each, would be increased to RM1 by 2023.

“Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry has approved this proposal.

“We will follow up with this plan after enforcement of the no single-use plastics begins in 2021.

“Although we have approval from the ministry, we will not carry it out immediately but will give more time for awareness besides carrying out educational programmes.

“We hope to raise awareness among the people and also give manufacturers and businesses some time to adapt to the changes.

“Public awareness on the need to reduce the usage of plastic bags must be strengthened and the state government will carry out more dialogue sessions with manufacturers and shopping malls before implementing the policy.

“We will give them enough time to adjust and adapt to the changes and our goal is to implement it completely by 2023, ” he said in his speech at the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) workshop on waste management in schools at Lodge 18 Hotel in Butterworth, Penang.

Phee was speaking to over 150 teachers from the island and the mainland who attended the workshop.

He noted that the state government started the ‘Go Green’ initiative in 2019 from reducing the usage of plastic bags to stop giving them completely now, with the hope of reducing pollution of the environment.

“I hope that teachers can play a highly effective role in raising awareness among students to stop using single-use plastics by 2021, ” he said.

Phee also said the state responded promptly to the problem of containers containing foreign waste that were being sent here.

“Enforcement action has been taken and the illegal companies were reduced from 400 to only 37 now.

“We have issued notices and warnings to these companies according to legal procedures.

“If they refuse to stop their operations, the government will cooperate with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Penang Water Supply Corporation to cut off the electricity and water supply to the illegal companies.

“In addition to protecting the environment and reducing pollution, the state is keen on eliminating the spread of Aedes mosquitoes which cause dengue, ” he said.

As for the foreign waste that was sent to our country, Phee said only clean waste would be allowed.

“The state government will focus on its operation to control the problem.

“As for the 116 illegal containers found at North Butterworth Container Terminal on the mainland Penang, 11 containers had been successfully returned to the country of origin, ” he said.

Meanwhile, CAP acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the programme was aimed at raising awareness on building zero waste models and incorporating environmental education in schools.

“Teachers play an important role in educating and shaping the mindset of our children.

“We hope to raise awareness among educators and encourage them to teach their students on the importance of zero-waste, ” he said.

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