No single-use plastics allowed in Perak’s residential religious schools

Royal welcome: Sultan Nazrin inspecting the guard of honour in conjunction with the opening of the second session of the 15th Perak state assembly. — Bernama

IPOH: Fully residential religious schools in Perak have been directed not to allow students to use plastic bottles or packaging for their drinks and food.

Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said it is an effort initiated by the Perak Islamic Affairs and Malay Customs Council (MAIPK) and the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPK) to minimise the use of single-use plastics.

“The world faces a significant threat from the negative environmental impact of uncontrolled single-use plastics.

“Most plastic materials do not completely degrade; instead, they break down into smaller particles known as microplastics, which are now found in human internal organs. The long-term effects of microplastics on human health and the environment require serious attention,” he said.

His Royal Highness said this when opening the first meeting of the second session of the 15th Perak State Legislative Assembly yesterday, Bernama reported.

Sultan Nazrin said the initiative by MAIPK and JAIPK to instil a culture of reducing single-use plastic usage should serve as an example to all departments and agencies in Perak.

“The Education Department, Youth Department, mosques, surau, places of worship, and NGOs are duty-bound to educate and instil awareness among the younger generation to adopt a healthier lifestyle by intensifying the ‘No Single-Use Plastics’ campaign among our people,” he added.

His Royal Highness also spoke about the need to explore innovative measures on food security, improve food distribution, minimise waste and ensure people have easy access to fresh and nutritious food.

He added that food security is not only about preventing people from going hungry but also about ensuring that every family has access to safe and nutritious food, noting that malnutrition contributes to the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Sultan Nazrin said people should be encouraged to take the lead in the success of environmental initiatives, with schools, mosques, and youth organisations playing a pivotal role in educating students and the young generation about the importance of public participation in food production.

The act of producing food, he added, is not only a means of sustenance but also an act of worship, an obligation to fulfil the principle of communal responsibility (fardu kifayah) to ensure the community’s survival and wellbeing.

The state government, he said, is continually striving to increase food production.

Sultan Nazrin said the livestock sector also plays a vital role in supplying protein-based food sources, adding that Perak is a significant contributor to the country’s livestock-based food supply, particularly chicken meat and eggs.

The Perak Ruler also noted that Perak’s blessings include its 398km coastline and 32 islands, which contribute to its highest fish-producing status in Malaysia, with 300,000 metric tonnes of fish landing annually.

Meanwhile, the Sultan said valuable non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) have drawn the interest of individuals in exploiting the situation through trespassing and unauthorised mineral extraction activities.

“These encroachments and illicit operations lead to financial losses for the state, along with unregulated mining practices that disregard established protocols, posing potential harm to the environment and public health.

“Firm and immediate action is needed from enforcement agencies, particularly the Forestry Department. Instances involving collusion between enforcement personnel and illegal miners must be promptly investigated and addressed with firmness and zero tolerance,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin said the discovery of NR-REE presents a promising new mineral resource with the potential to significantly boost the state’s revenue, with the Minerals and Geoscience Department estimating that there are 1.69 million metric tonnes of NR-REE deposits in Perak valued at around RM40bil.

His Royal Highness said a groundbreaking project covering an 88ha area has yielded nearly 6,200 metric tonnes of REE carbonate.

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