The giving away of free plastic bags by retailers for customers to carry their purchases was prohibited by the Pakatan state government of Selangor state since 1 January 2017, supposedly as a measure to "protect the environment", with the requirement that customers who need plastic bags must pay 20sen a bag or bring their own.
This no doubt has inconvenienced the "plaebian masses" of Selangor, many of whom now just pay the 20 sen for each plastic bag and Selangor state has collected RM1.87 million in plastic bag sales (or let's say 'penalities') since 1 January,
Yet, after nine years of ruling Selangor, the Pakatan state government has not introduced a comprehensive recycling programme - with awareness raising, recycling bins, conveniently located collection centres, deposit-return incentives and so forth to enable and facilitate convenient recycling by the public which I would fully support and which would do more to help protect the environment than to to require that shoppers pay 20 sen for a plastic bag.
Instead the Selangor government could have got especially the large retailers such as supermarkets, departmental stores, malls and so forth to participate in recycling efforts by setting up convenient recycling collection centres for plastic, paper, glass, metal cans, electronic waste and so forth, which would have been a positive move if implemented.
After all, the Selangor State Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman in charge of this "no plastic bag" campaign is known to have been a rather passionate environmental activist during her student days in Sydney, Australia.
I wonder what she learned from her experience of recycling programmes in Australia which could have been adopted by Selangor state under her watch.
Well it looks like not much, apart from this "no plastic bag" ruling and it looks like the Chairman is instead proud that Selangor state raked in RM1.87 million as a result of this.
Article in Free Malaysia Today follows.
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RM1.87 million collected from 20-sen charge on plastic bags
Bernama | July 24, 2017
SHAH ALAM: A total of RM1.87 million has been collected from shoppers in Selangor through the 20-sen charge for each plastic bag since the “No Plastic Bag” campaign was implemented in the state on Jan 1 this year, the Selangor assembly was told today.
State Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said the collection only involved supermarkets and food premises that had informed the state government, through their respective trade associations, about their collection of the 20-sen charge between January and May.
“Of the total, 63.98% of the collection was made from supermarket operators and the rest by operators of food premises.”
She said this in reply to Lee Kee Hiong (DAP-Kuala Kubu Baharu) who wanted to know the collection made by traders following the implementation of the campaign in the state.
Wong also said that as of June 30, the state government had spent a total of RM213,678.30 for the purchase of posters, buntings and reusable non-woven bags in connection with the campaign.
Below are some of the comments by readers to the above article and none so far defend the "no plastic bag" ruling, whilst some have suggested more practical and effective methods to encourage recycling and better protect the environment, instead of this token measure which inconveniences the Selangor public.
That last comment by Roger Mao is so true - it's a STUPID move.
Here's to you, Pakatan state government of Selangor:- (Free plastic bag courtesy of National Parks, Singapore)
How about using such free plastic bags to "ta pau" (pack) cooked food to carry home to eat. You can pick some of these up for free when you next visit Singapore.
FYI, I generally bring my own carry bag when shopping, so I have not had to purchase a plastic bag but sometimes I forget and end up carrying my purchases in my two hands.