KL may go 'no plastic' as well


Malay Mail, January 14, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: City dwellers should learn to say "No" to plastics, for they too will soon be part of the growing community adopting the 'No Plastic Bag Day' campaign.

A move is being initiated in Kuala Lumpur and the details are being worked out by KL City Hall.

Mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail told The Malay Mail that the nation's capital might adopt the 'No Plastic Bag Day' campaign, depending on how successful it was in Selangor.

"I would like to see how the pilot project takes off in Selangor. Let's wait for six months. If it takes off well, we will follow suit."

City Hall would send its officers to learn from Selangor how the programme could be implemented successfully in KL.

"We would also want to hear the views of other stakeholders on the long-term viability of such a project. We would like to hear from consumers, traders and those from the plastics industry."

In our report last week, Ahmad Fuad had said there was no immediate plan for such a campaign in KL as the local council wanted to continue to push for other ways for the people to adopt a greener lifestyle, such as recycling, solid waste management initiatives as well as cleanliness campaigns.

He said alternatives should be provided to consumers if plastic bags were not available once a week.

"There is no City Hall bylaw now to compel people not to use plastic bags. We must also determine which department in City Hall will be responsible."

He noted that the programme had been introduced in Penang some years ago, but was not successful then.

"Proper studies must be carried out on the matter to ensure the programme will achieve its objective of getting the public to reduce the use of plastic bags and not just on a particular day."

Last week, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Batu MP Tian Chua and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar handed over a petition to City Hall, urging it to take the lead to ban the use of plastic bags in the city.

The petition stated the move was not only adopted by the Pakatan Rakyat States but that Water, Green Technology and Power Minister Datuk Chin Fa Kui had, in October last year, announced that a national campaign of that sort would be carried out eventually, as it was one way to conserve the environment and
promote green technology.

The "No Plastic Bag Day" is observed in Selangor every Saturday from Jan 1. Retailers and shopping complexes throughout the State have been urged to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Though the ''no plastic bag" move was announced by the State government last December, many shoppers remain unaware of it. Shoppers who still want to use plastic bags will have to pay 20 sen for each bag.

It has been reported that so far 20 major retailers in the State, comprising hypermarkets, supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores, are taking part in the campaign.

Penang, which was the first to introduce the campaign, will this year become the first State in Southeast Asia to penalise outlets that do not observe the "No Plastic Bag Day" campaign.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said the penalty would include fines or the rejection of licence renewals by the State's local authorities.

Lim had also said that Penang would build awareness and educate the public on the policy until the end of March, before deciding whether to extend the campaign or begin strict enforcement.

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