Its Plastic Waste to Energy projects specialist Camille Rollin said that since their vessel docked at Marina Sutera Harbour here on Aug 20, they had spoken to various private stakeholders and public officials who were keen with the idea.
“We have a prototype of the converter machine in Paris, France, but are looking at coastal cities like Kota Kinabalu, or an island like Pulau Gaya, as a model.
“We have held discussions with prospective investors, governments and municipalities, and there were positive responses.
“Hopefully, it will materialise and Sabah will showcase and pave the way for other nations looking for solutions to the plastic problem,” she said when met recently.
Rollin said the idea was to run a “proof of concept” in this city, with a trial period of 12 to 18 months via rental agreement of the machine.
“The price of the machine today is US$4mil (RM16.8mil).
“If we manage to finalise the decision to try this out, and the trial period reaches the goals intended, then we expect a commitment to purchase such machines at lower prices,” she said, adding that the foundation would follow up on the proposal after leaving Sabah on Tuesday.
She said during the R4W five-year odyssey across the world, which started in April 2017 from Lorient, France, among the countries they made stopovers were Peru and Samoa, as well as Easter Island, which had also expressed interest in the project.
Asked on the relevance of such technology when the goal was to reduce plastic consumption globally, Rollin said the idea of the converter machine was to accompany the transition as it would take 10 to 15 years for the plastic industry to find an alternative to plastic.
“But we need a solution to the existing plastic waste problem.
“If we want to win the race to preserve the ocean, we must give incentives to people to collect plastic, instead of throwing them indiscriminately,” she said.
In terms of promoting awareness, Rollin said some 1,400 schoolchildren had visited and attended the plastic pollution briefing onboard the vessel since they docked in Kota Kinabalu.
“It is important to educate the young ones as many of them are not aware of this problem, even some adults,” she said.
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