Malaysia: Perak plastic ban on hold

The Star 23 May 17;

SERI ISKANDAR: Perak is putting the brakes on the statewide ban on polystyrene containers and plastic bags, which was originally sche­duled to begin June 1.

Confirming that the ban has been called off, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the state would reintroduce it after a full study.

He said the announcement on the ban last year was meant to be a trial period for the people to adjust to the ban, and for the state to see how it could be implemented properly in the future.

“We cannot tackle the problems of plastic and polystyrene usage without providing the correct alternative, as well as creating an environment that leads towards the ban.

“The state environment committee has been tasked with conducting proper studies on the impact of the ban on stakeholders,” he told reporters after attending the state-level Teachers Day celebration here yesterday.

Dr Zambry said the government has to also study the implications of such a ban in states that have successfully enforced it.

“We’ve been receiving feedback from the public. We know they want to see public areas free of plastic and polystyrene waste, but I want the feasibility of this ban to be looked into first.

“We don’t want to end up creating another problem,” he said.

Perak Environment Committee chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria said Perakians needed more time to adjust to the ban.

“The manufacturers also have to cut down on the production of plastic bags and focus on biodegradable materials.

“Biodegradable materials are costlier and they are not widely used, but I believe our state is heading towards the direction of using more environmental-friendly materials for packing food and groce­ries,” he said.

Dr Muhammad Amin said feedback from the public, local authorities and manufacturers would be taken into account.

In April last year, he announced that the total ban on plastic bags and polystyrene containers would be enforced in stages, starting with state government buildings.

Cafeterias in the state buildings started using biodegradable containers every Friday from June last year.

In the second stage from January this year, the ban was extended from weekly to daily.

The third stage, in January this year also covered all municipal councils in the state.

The fourth stage was the ban on polystyrene and plastic bags throughout the state.

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