No Plastic Bag Day – it has been a resounding success!

Gentle reminder: Signage in hypermarkets urging customers to bring their own shopping bags on Saturdays or be charged 20 sen per plastic bag.

No Plastic Bag day? Customers say ‘I would rather pay’


PETALING JAYA: Consumers in the Klang Valley are still using plastic bags when they shop despite the “No Plastic Bag” campaign introduced early this year.


Trader Mohd Noor Mohd Salleh, 32, said the policy was not that effective.


“At 20 sen a plastic bag, people can afford to pay for a few if they don’t bring their own bags,” he added.


Retired teacher Datin Zainab Karin, 71, said she has been making a conscious effort to reduce her use of plastic bags since the policy was introduced.


“I usually keep a few reusable bags in my car, as I sometimes forget to pack bags when I go shopping,” she said.


Recreational supervisor Mohd Arsat Marzuki, 24, said the policy might change the habits of people, but it still wasn’t effective as many shop on impulse when they are near a hypermarket.


“Those who shop that way don’t mind paying for bags as they don’t usually buy so much anyway,” he added.


Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said the campaign should be expanded to more days instead of just Saturdays or Sundays.


In Penang, where the policy has been in effect every day of the week for the past nine months, it has been a resounding success.


“We have noticed that there is less clogging of waterways ever since we embarked on the campaign which later included the ban on the use of polystyrene packaging at council-owned hawker centres,” said Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.


Phee said the state government had taken a risk when it implemented the ruling as plastic bag manufacturers opposed it.


He also said the state government has collected almost RM1mil from the 20 sen sale of plastic bags at outlets since July 1, 2009. The fee is imposed on people who insist on plastic bags.


A source said that since the implementation of the ruling first partial, then total in 2009, the state has recorded a reduced usage of at least 33 million plastic bags.

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