SELANGOR Princess Tengku Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah was one of 250 speakers from 122 countries at the Change Now Summit 2020 held at the Grand Palais in Paris, France.
Tengku Zatashah represented Malaysia and shared her successful #zerofoodwastage and #sayno2plastic campaigns.
The three-day event had well-known environmental changemakers such as Boyan Slat from The Ocean Cleanup who had his Interceptor 02 cleaning up Sungai Klang in Selangor, as well as Tom Szaky who is CEO and founder of Terracycle and Loop, which is known for recycling hard-to-recycle waste.
Also present were Swiss explorer who travelled in a solar-powered plane and Solar Impulse Foundation founder Bertrand Picard, renowned journalist, environmental activist and former French environment minister Nicolas Hulot as well as Ellen MacArthur Foundation chief executive officer Captain Paul Watson.
Tengku Zatashah spoke at the session on “Changing Food System: Food Waste” on the #zerofoodwastage campaign that she launched in 2016.
She talked about her work with Kechara Soup Kitchen in which they had saved over 1,000 tonnes of surplus food to feed those in need such as the homeless and urban poor families.
Tengku Zatashah also shared about her involvement with Food Bank Malaysia Foundation under the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and how since its inception in January last year, they had given surplus food weekly to 12,000 students from the B40 group in 22 public universities across the nation.
She said this year they would expand the initiative, known as Undergraduates Food Bank Programme, to polytechnics and other higher educational institutions.
Tengku Zatashah also spoke during the “Showing the Path to Fighting Waste” on the #sayno2plastic campaign which she started in 2016 that had gone viral on social media.
She shared how she created a buzz and influenced the public by showing how to reduce waste.
“You need to walk the talk and lead by example by bringing reusables such as
tiffin carriers and tumblers, ” said Tengku Zatashah, adding that she lobbied governments and business for the #sayno2plastic campaign.
Her beach and underwater dive clean-ups have collected nearly two tonnes of trash, mainly plastic waste.
Tengku Zatashah had also organised one of the largest beach clean-ups in collaboration with Reef Check Malaysia and the state government on three beaches in Selangor with 1,800 volunteers in 2018 for International Coastal Cleanup Day.
She also shared with the audience how Malaysia was trying to combat the plastic problem when she was invited to be the guest-of-honour at the Malaysia Roadmap towards Zero Single Use Plastic 2018-2030 under the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.
“I was thrilled and honoured to be able to present to the world my two passions, causes that I hold to dearly and to be able to share what we Malaysians are actively doing to address the plastic pollution crisis.
“I was able to make valuable connections through the Change Now Summit that will further enhance what we are trying to establish in Malaysia. Meeting eco-warrior icons such as Slat and Szaky as well as United Nations Environment Programme representatives was beneficial and I look forward to collaborating with them soon, ” she added.