KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — The local chapter of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned of dire consequences to the environment, following Barisan Nasional’s (BN) pledge to reverse the “no plastic bag” policy in Selangor should it resume power.
WWF Malaysia’s chief executive Datuk Dr Dionysius SK Sharma said while pledges and promises are the prerogative of political parties, it is the administration’s duty to “do what is right”.
“It is evident from the easily accessible local and global information that single use plastics and plastics discarded that end up in our environment has dire consequences on nature and biodiversity.
“All administrative units of government need to step up and contribute to the solutions to this global problem,” he said, adding that this is also in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which Malaysia is signatory to.
Selangor BN chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar yesterday said that consumers in the state would no longer need to pay 20 sen for each single-use plastic bag, should the party recapture the state in the general election.
Utusan Malaysia quoted him saying that the policy only troubled the public, and questioned how the collected funds were being currently used.
However, Dionysius said governments hold a duty to conserve the environment, stressing on the various initiatives WWF had carried out — including a recycling campaign to create awareness on the impact of plastic wares to marine life forms.
“It is not about political parties. They can say anything — it is their prerogative. It is about governments — local, state and federal governments that matter. Any responsible government will need to do what is right,” Dionysius added.
In a bid to cultivate an eco-friendly state, the Selangor government imposed a 20 sen fee for those who want a plastic bag with their purchase, starting last year.
The state also barred vendors from using polystyrene foam boxes to pack food.
The Federal Territories also introduced a similar ban on plastic bags and poly-foam last September.