Malaysia prepares nationwide ban of plastic bags

The Malaysian government plans to introduce a nationwide ban of plastic bags within a year, preceded by an awareness campaign to “educate” the population why such a ban is useful and necessary, new housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told news portal MalaysiaKini in an interview published on May 28.

Zuraida said she found that awareness of why the government wants to implement the ban is still low among Malaysian, despite existing  bans already enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Melaka and Johor.

“Malaysians still have the attitude of wanting everything so easy, they want to have plastic bags so they can bring their items home,” she said, adding that the public should give the government some time to hold public engagements and educational programmes, the news portal quoted the minister as saying.

This low awareness level can be seen in people who are still willing to pay 0.20 rnggit in exchange for plastic bags. The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association said in April that every Malaysian throws away 300 plastic bags a year on average, polluting the environment instead of reusing the bags.

Plastic bags have become a big environmental burden around the globe, polluting landscapes and oceans, leading to a number of countries partly or fully banning their use. Kenya just recently introduced a though law against the use of plastic bags at all levels, while a number of other Afrcian countries has also banned them.

In Southeast Asia, Cambodia plans to introduce charges for the bags, while in Myanmar they are banned in the larger cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw. Indonesia charges an excise tax on plastic bags in 23 cities, and there is technically a plastic bag ban in Manila, but it is poorly enforced. Large polluters such as Thailand with strong plastic industry lobbies have yet to take any action.

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The Malaysian government plans to introduce a nationwide ban of plastic bags within a year, preceded by an awareness campaign to “educate” the population why such a ban is useful and necessary, new housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told news portal MalaysiaKini in an interview published on May 28.

The Malaysian government plans to introduce a nationwide ban of plastic bags within a year, preceded by an awareness campaign to “educate” the population why such a ban is useful and necessary, new housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told news portal MalaysiaKini in an interview published on May 28.

Zuraida said she found that awareness of why the government wants to implement the ban is still low among Malaysian, despite existing  bans already enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Melaka and Johor.

“Malaysians still have the attitude of wanting everything so easy, they want to have plastic bags so they can bring their items home,” she said, adding that the public should give the government some time to hold public engagements and educational programmes, the news portal quoted the minister as saying.

This low awareness level can be seen in people who are still willing to pay 0.20 rnggit in exchange for plastic bags. The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association said in April that every Malaysian throws away 300 plastic bags a year on average, polluting the environment instead of reusing the bags.

Plastic bags have become a big environmental burden around the globe, polluting landscapes and oceans, leading to a number of countries partly or fully banning their use. Kenya just recently introduced a though law against the use of plastic bags at all levels, while a number of other Afrcian countries has also banned them.

In Southeast Asia, Cambodia plans to introduce charges for the bags, while in Myanmar they are banned in the larger cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw. Indonesia charges an excise tax on plastic bags in 23 cities, and there is technically a plastic bag ban in Manila, but it is poorly enforced. Large polluters such as Thailand with strong plastic industry lobbies have yet to take any action.

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