Malaysia: Perak, Johor to ban polystyrene

The Star 19 Apr 16;

IPOH: Perak and Johor, which are moving towards a ban on polystyrene containers, are encouraging people to use tiffin carriers or other biodegradable containers.

The Perak government has declared a total ban on the usage of polystyrene containers and plastic bags from June next year.

Residents here will have to use biodegradable containers or their own shopping bags then.

Perak Environment Committee chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria (BN-Batu Kurau) said the ban would be enforced in stages starting with state government buildings this June, citing that cafeterias there would have to use biodegradable containers every Friday.

“In the second stage, the ban will be extended from weekly to daily, starting January 2017.

“The third stage will take place during the same period at the premises of all local governments in the state.

“Finally, the fourth stage will start in June 2017 when the usage of polystyrene and plastic bags will be banned throughout the state, especially in supermarkets, hypermarkets and sundry stores,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Muhammad Amin said the ban would be enforced by all local authorities in every district.

“Although the move may seem drastic, this is an issue that the state has been contemplating for a while now. We are indeed serious in eliminating polystyrene and plastic waste, so we decided to implement the ban in stages so that the people are given time to get used to the idea of using their own containers and shopping bags,” he said.

Muhammad Amin said the state would work with the Department of Environment to build more e-waste collection centres so that the waste could be handled in a safe manner.

In Iskandar Puteri, state Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said there would be an announcement on the ban by the end of the year.

For now, consumers in Johor should start bringing their own tiffin carriers or food containers for takeaways.

He said the state authorities were conducting a study before banning the use of plastic and polystyrene containers, acknowledging that this was a delicate issue.

Ayub said plastic and polystyrene containers had been clogging up drains and rivers and even becoming mosquito-breeding grounds.

Speaking to reporters, Ayub said that 80% of the 160 tonnes of the rubbish collected yearly in Sungai Skudai, one of the dirtiest rivers in Johor, was made up of polystyrene and plastic.

He also cautioned that the price of takeaway food should not increase once the ban was enforced.

“Customers may not be happy if they are charged an extra 50 sen for taking away food in biodegradable containers.”

Ayub said the state government wanted to encourage food operators to gradually switch to biodegradable containers.

Both Penang and Malacca have banned the use of polystyrene containers in their states.


Johor Govt Plans To Ban Use Of Polystyrene, Plastic
Bernama 18 Apr 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI, April 18 (Bernama) -- The use of polystyrene and plastic will be banned in Johor to protect the environment and for health, the Johor State Assembly was told Monday.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the matter would be announced by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin at the end of the year at the tabling of the 2017 State Budget.

Towards this end, he said, a working paper on the use of biodegradable and biocompostable containers to replace polystyrene and plastic was being prepared by the Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech).

He said this in response to an oral question from Chua Wee Beng (DAP-Bentayan) who wanted to know if the state government had plans to ban the use of polystyrene and plastic.

--BERNAMA


Public encouraged to bring containers for takeaways
The Star 20 Apr 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Customers in Johor are encouraged to bring their own tiffin carriers or food containers for takeaways when patronising food outlets in the state.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that the practice would make them fully prepared when the banning of polystyrene takes place in Johor.

He said the state authorities and agencies were in the midst of conducting an in-depth study before banning the use of plastic and polystyrene containers, adding that this was a delicate issue.

Ayub said plastic and polystyrene containers have been identified for clogging up drains and rivers and even becoming mosquito-breeding grounds.

“We are definitely moving there and Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin will make the announcement on the banning by the end of the year,’’ he told reporters during a break at the state assembly sitting here on Monday.

Ayub said for instance, about 80% of the 160 tonnes of the rubbish collected yearly in Sungai Skudai, one of the dirtiest rivers in Johor, were made up of polystyrene and plastic.

He said while banning such containers would be good for the environment, at the same time the authorities needed to look into other factors.

“Any decision will have to be a win-win situation for both food operators and customers and the price of takeaways should not increase,’’ added Ayub.

He said for instance, customers might not be happy they were charged an extra 50 sen for taking away food in biodegradable containers.

Ayub said that right now the government wanted to encourage food operators to gradually switch to biodegradable containers.

Polystyrene, which does not break down naturally, can remain an environmental hazard for hundreds of years, clogging up drains and rivers.

Those that collect water also end up becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Earlier during the sitting, Ayub said that the government has given Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corp (J-Biotech) the responsibility to submit proposals, initiatives as well as the preparation of a roadmap.

He said that J-Biotech was selected to come up with a five-year roadmap for the consideration of the government.

“J-Biotech is in the midst of preparing an introductory proposal on the replacement of plastic and polystyrene packaging materials to biodegradable and bio-compostable ones.

“The working papers will include suggestions and action plan along with a five-year roadmap to see through the success of the initiative,” he said in reply to a question posed by Chua Wee Beng (Bentayan-DAP) here on Monday.

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