BY ELAN PERUMAL
SELANGOR will declare itself a Zero Plastic Bag Zone in a year’s time.
For a start, all the 12 municipal and city councils in the state will be going on a zero plastic bag campaign from next month before it is extended to the rest of the state. State local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu said the campaign would be gradually expanded to hypermarkets, shopping complexes, offices and homes.
By starting the campaign at the local council level, Liu said plastic bags and Styrofoam would be totally banned from the vicinity of the offices of the various councils. Liu had a meeting with the 12 local and city councils on Wednesday to brief them on the campaign and the direction of the state government towards environmental conservation.
He said the idea had gone well with the councils and they were prepared to educate their employees on the need to reduce the use of plastic bags. “The employees are encouraged to use paper bags and bring their own containers to pack food as we will not allow anyone to carry plastic bags to office.
“We can save the environment by reducing the use of plastic bags. “We can stop using hundreds of thousands of plastic bags a year just by launching this campaign at the local council level,” he said.
He added that plastic bags were made from crude oil and contributed towards global warming. The strategy, Liu said, was aimed at getting the enforcers who were on the local councils to be familiar with the ruling so that it would be effectively carried out.
“Once the council offices are declared as plastic bag free zones, it will be easier for them to take the campaign to the hypermarkets, shopping complexes and homes,” he said yesterday. Liu said he expected the state to be declared a plastic bag free zone next year after plastic bags were totally eradicated from Selangor.
Once that is done, he said the usage of paper bags and other options would be considered by shoppers. He said plastic bags had amounted to14.3% of the solid waste in the state and that was why the campaign was launched.
“We realise how environmentally hazardous plastics are as they need some 400 years before they become biodegradable and their existence also shortens the lifespan of our landfills,” he said.
He added that research revealed that the usage of a plastic bags only lasted an average of 12 minutes.
As part of the World Environment Day, Liu also launched the zero plastic bag campaign logo contest yesterday. Liu said the logo contest was open to everyone including students and adults in the state. He said the contest offered RM3,000 for the first prize winner.
Entries to the contest should be posted to Logo Contest, Kerajaan Perumahan Tempatan, 153, Ground Floor, Jalan Tengku Bandar, 42000 Port Klang. Meanwhile, Liu also announced that former Future In Our Hands (FIOH) Society president Segar Krishnan has been appointed as his adviser on environmental issues.