A TEAM has been formed in Perak to educate the public to embrace recycling in order to reduce the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
Ipoh City Watch (ICW) President Prof Dr Richard Ng said the main objective of the committee, known as the Perak Action Team for a Sustainable Environment (PATSE), would be to focus on the 3Es – Educating, Engaging and Exciting the public to practise the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle.
Ng, who is the chairman for the action team, said the idea to set up the body was mooted after a forum by ICW was held to discuss the state government’s decision to ban plastic bags and polystyrene containers beginning next June.
During the forum titled “The Impact of Plastics on the Sustainability of Environment: Should Plastics be Banned?” held last month, State Executive Councilor Datuk Rusnah Kassim a challenged the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) to come up with a convincing proposal for the state government to reconsider the decision on the ban, as currently the state stands firm on the decision.
Ng said the action committee comprises members of ICW, MPMA, state Solid Waste Management and Public Cleanliness Corporation (SWCorp), Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau), local councils, and representatives from the state government.
He said at the end of the forum the panelist agreed to giving the 800 members of MPM’s Perak branch a chance to prove themselves on finding a solution to the challenge by Rusnah.
“The action team will go on a statewide campaign, starting with educational road shows during the monthly Car Free Day event.
“We will also hold talks in schools, and work with any organisation which is keen to cooperate with us,” he said recently.
During the forum last month, MPMA President Datuk Lim Kok Boon urged the state government to educate the public about waste management and littering instead of banning the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
Lim said the more importance should be placed on the 3Rs, something that is done in more developed countries.
Ng said ICW is concerned about the impact of plastics on the environment, but also sympathises with MPMA’s members as the banning of plastics bags will affect their revenue.
Ng said, as one of the four panelists for the forum, ICW supports the government’s move in banning the use of polystyrene and plastic bags effective June 1, next year.
“I made my point clear that by 2020, if nothing is done, Perak will generate three billion tonnes of garbage, of which 450,000 tonnes or about 15% of the total garbage consist of plastics.
“Plastics takes a few hundred years to degrade and this will impact the sustainability of our environment. Plus, plastics are made from petroleum which is a non-renewable source of energy,” he added.