Khalid (centre, in orange tie) cutting a straw to mark the seminar’s launch. With him are (back row, from left) Federal Territories Ministry deputy secretary-general (planning and development) Datuk M. Noor Azman Taib, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, Federal Territories Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan Md Ikshan, Putrajaya Corporation president Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim and Federal Territories Ministry strategic development section secretary Lokman Jamaan. — Photos: M. AZHAR ARIF/The Star and courtesy of China Press
THE Federal Territories (FT) is hoping to go plastic-free by 2020 by making it the norm to use biodegradable products such as bags, food containers and straws, says FT Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.
“We are doing what we can to protect and create a more sustainable environment. We are looking into implementing this matter seriously with all parties involved, including traders and consumers,” he said.
“We hope to come to a stage where consumers do not patronise shops that do not offer biodegradable products, as they are aware and understand the implications of plastic products on the environment.”
Khalid said this after launching a seminar on “Coordination and Enforcement on the Use of Biodegradable Products in the Federal Territories” at Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
“The ministry, through its FT Green Technology Action Plan, is focusing on implementing the use of biodegradable products in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan,” said Khalid in his speech.
“The Cabinet had decided in July 2018 that the use of biodegradable and compostable products would be continued and enforced in the Federal Territories.
“Various awareness and engagement programmes have been held with the public and industry players to create awareness and highlight the programme’s importance, such as the impact on the environment, public health and waste disposal.”
The FT Ministry banned the use of plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging in January last year, with enforcement on the use of 100% biodegradable bags and food containers kicking off in September the same year.
Visitors making enquiries at a booth by a company that manufactures biodegradeable bags certified by Sirim and the Federal Territories Ministry.
The 100% biodegradable bags have the ministry’s “biodegradable” stamp and “eco-label stamp” by Sirim.
However, some businesses flouted the rule by opting for the much cheaper and regular hydrocarbon plastic bags, or substandard or fake biodegradable bags.
Business owners in Kuala Lumpur found flouting the ruling would face a maximum RM1,000 compound under the Local Government Act 1976, among other by-laws, and risked getting their businesses shut down or licences revoked.
The ministry will also be banning the use of plastic straws in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan next year, with enforcement to start in 2020.
“While the policy on use of biodegradable products falls under the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (Mestecc), it was decided by the Cabinet that the FT Ministry would continue it as a pilot project since we started the initiative in 2016,” said Khalid.
“As the pioneer, we will share our experience, problems faced and lessons learnt with Mestecc, so they can better implement it when the policy goes nationwide.”
On how the FT Ministry is addressing the issue of fake or substandard products, he said its enforcement unit would have to go directly to the plastic manufacturers to ensure they are using the right resins when producing biodegradable products.
“It is a phase that we have to go through since we are already involved in the programme,” said Khalid.
“If we can get all of the plastic manufacturing factories to use the right type of resins, then it will be a lot easier on Mestecc’s part to implement the policy when it comes to the national level.”
He added that action, including legal measures or fines, would also be taken against companies found misusing the FT Ministry or Sirim logo when printing the biodegradable products.
For programme details, including a list of biodegradable product distributors and Sirim-certified packaging manufacturers, visit https://bit.ly/2zq84mr