Malaysia, Johor: Grace period to stop use of plastic

zazali musa The Star 25 Dec 17;

JOHOR BARU: Traders and consumers in Johor will be given a one-year period starting from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2018, to switch to using biodegradable products instead of plastic bags and polystyrene food containers.

State health, environment, education and information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the one-year “grace period” was to educate and familiarise them with the move.

He said next year would be an educational enforcement year before the ban on conventional plastic materials and polystyrene food containers is enforced on Jan 1, 2019.

“We believe one year is enough for traders and consumers in Johor to start switching to biodegradable materials,” said Ayub.

Ayub said they would brief and educate traders, consumers and industry players to have a better understanding on the benefits of using biodegradable products.

“Related campaigns, activities and programmes will be held in the state for the next 12 months to create better awareness on the use of biodegradable products among the people,” he added.

Ayub said the first briefing would take place during the upgrading of Segamat District Council to a municipality on Dec 31.

He said briefing in other districts – Johor Baru, Pasir Gudang, Kulai, Pontian, Muar, Batu Pahat, Pontian, Mersing and Kota Tinggi would be held in January, February and March next year.

Eco-friendly move gets support
The Star 28 Dec 17;

JOHOR BARU: The use of biode­gradable packaging materials in Johor, expected to commence on Jan 1, has received support from not only food traders and supermarket operators but also the local community, in the effort to preserve the environment.

A check at several business locations around the city found most of the traders ready to implement the directive that was expected to take effect within the next five days.

Restaurant operator Roslan Ibrahim said he was aware of the enforcement and was already using biodegradable materials instead of polystyrene.

“The state government’s effort is good as this can lessen environmental pollution, especially in Johor, which is one of the states with a lot of industries and is growing rapidly,” said the 57-year-old businessman.

However, Kamal Nur Arif, 24, an operator of a food outlet and a shoe shop, admitted that he was unaware of the enforcement of biodegradable packaging materials early next year and said he hoped that the state government would continue to inform the public of the move to enable the traders to prepare themselves.

Kamal was not alone as a private company employee, Nur Ain Kamaruddin, 24, said she was also unaware of the latest move by the government.

“I do not know about the implementation of biodegradable packaging materials to replace polystyrene and plastic all over Johor next year, but I am pleased to know that it will be implemented to preserve the environment.

“The government also needs to disseminate information to the public over the move as well as undertake an awareness campaign for the community to understand it better as this biodegradable materials can lessen pollution,” she said.

A government retiree, Jamiah Abdul Rahman, said it was timely for Johor to implement the use of biodegradable packaging materials in line with the rapid development of the state.

“The use of biodegradable packaging materials is a very smart move but its price should also be affordable to enable the people to buy it easily, compared to plastic and polystyrene which are not only cheap but also easy to find,” she added.

Meanwhile, all 17 Econsave Cash and Carry supermarket outlets in the state will discontinue the sale of polystyrene and conventional food or plastic wraps from Jan 1.

Econsave Cash and Carry Super­market Southern Region operations manager Mas Imran Adam said the company had taken the initial steps by stopping the supply of the products and would replace them with the recommended biodegradable packaging materials.

He said the supermarket chain would also gradually change the use of plastic with the recommended biodegradable packaging materials for goods and sell recycling bags for customers convenience.

State health, environment, education and information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat had said that the state government was giving the public a one-year period of enforcement through education for the use of biodegradable packaging materials.

The cooling-off period will be from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2018, to give the public and business owners a chance to make the necessary adjustments and be prepared to comply with the rules before they are fully enforced on Jan 1, 2019. – Bernama