Bans alone won’t reduce plastic usage, say groups

The Selangor government has banned the use of plastic straws at all eateries from July 1. (AFP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) should get their hands dirty and not depend on bans alone to get people to reduce their use of plastic, two environmental groups said.

The Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) said the government must not only strictly enforce the ban but rein in factories that produce single-use and non-biodegradable plastic as well.

In this way, throwaway plastic will not be easily attainable, its president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil told Bernama.

She recommended the use of steel, bamboo and paper products instead.

Shariffa said enforcement on use of non-biodegradable products was lax and Malaysians were still unaware of the negative impact of plastic consumption.

“The government should focus on the matter. Instead of depending on policies, it must educate citizens on the importance of preserving the environment,” she said.

Malaysia Nature Society president Prof Ahmad Ismail said NGOs played a vital role in carrying out campaigns in schools and the private sector on the effects of plastic pollution.

“Banning single-use plastic and straws alone won’t be effective if the public is unaware of the reasons behind the policy. Education should be in line with current developments,” he said.

The Selangor government’s ban on plastic straws comes into force on July 1, while Perak is still weighing the situation.

Last October, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin launched the Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030.