Last October, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin announced an action plan to gradually abolish single-use plastic in an effort to save the environment.
The plan seems ambitious, but its Phase 1 has been initiated. Notably, the ‘no straw’ initiative, where eateries are encouraging diners to not use disposable straws.
Following, Phase 2 will expand the usage of biodegradable and compostable products nationwide, reaching as far as non-fixed business premises. For Phase 3, the plan will increase the production of local biodegradable products, replacing plastic products like diapers and feminine hygiene products.
From a business perspective, Yeo suggested that these actions would not heavily impact plastic manufacturers but should be seen as the beginning of an eco-friendly production and growth.
Yeo added that Malaysia ranks number eight internationally for the mismanagement of plastic waste pollution. Moreover, Malaysia is the fourth largest plastic exporter among ASEAN countries, while ranking 25th internationally.
Malaysia was also reported as an alternative dump site for other countries, and this could possibly lead to serious environmental damage if treated with unlicensed, low-end technology.
Recently, Penang’s Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh announced that the state is going to increase the price of a plastic bag to 50 cents, because the 20 cents charge seems to be not “expensive” enough to reduce plastic bag wastage.
The ban on single-use plastic products is a great plan to keep Malaysia clean. However, the 20 cents additional charge for plastic bag is reported to be ineffective. Therefore, will Malaysians cooperate with MESTECC’s grand plan?