PETALING JAYA: Cabinet minister Yeo Bee Yin (pic) has openly declared the status of her relationship with plastic material.
The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister is going through a break-up with single-use plastic.
In fact, Yeo is challenging her fellow colleagues at the ministry to also leave their unhealthy relationship with single-use plastic.
The government wants to steer Malaysia towards a plastic-free future, starting with the ministry.
In a cheeky Facebook video, Yeo challenged ministry staff with three simple challenges – no plastic bottles on tables at all meetings, no straws, and no plastic wrapping on food.
Although it was aimed at ministry staff, the video posted on her Facebook page has gone viral among netizens who laud the country’s new green direction.
Yeo launched the “Let’s Break Up with Single-Use Plastic” campaign on Sept 7 during the ministry’s monthly meeting in Putrajaya.
“Imagine if a visitor comes to your house and pollute your house (with plastic), how would you feel? That is what our marine life – fish and turtles – is facing now.
“When plastic breaks down, it becomes microplastics. Who will eat the microplastics? Fish. And who will eat these fish? Us. So we will be eating plastic unless we become vegetarian,” she said during the launch.
The campaign is a lead-up to the ministry’s unveiling of a nationwide roadmap to zero single-use plastic at the 9th International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia in October.
“We will create a future that has no biodegradable plastic,” Yeo said.
“Before announcing the roadmap, we want to challenge Malaysians to reduce plastic. We will lead by example.
“This is not a campaign by the minister; this is a campaign by the ministry.”
According to a 2015 study, Malaysia is the eighth largest global producer of mismanaged plastic waste, generating 4,505,717kg of plastic waste a day.
This is partly due to Malaysia’s huge plastic industry.
According to Yeo, Malaysia is not only the largest plastic exporter in Asean, it is also the third largest producer of plastic wrapping in the world.
The trained chemical engineer has a plan for Malaysia to lead the change in the global plastic problem – to transform the plastic industry from petroleum-based to bioplastic that is biodegradable.
“Our industry will be greener and we can save the world, as well as create job opportunities (in this new industry),” she said.