KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 ― The government is mulling the introduction of dedicated legislation to address plastic disposal and pollution, which has been a major issue in Malaysia.

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad stated that the ministry is studying the need for specific legislation due to gaps in the current framework.

"A lot of it relies on local governments. While some states like Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Johor are moving fast, others are not,” he explained.

"We need a national approach to deal with plastic pollution,” he told reporters after officiating the 26th International Surveyors’ Congress 2024 here today.

The minister said this in response to a recent study that sees Malaysia being ranked the highest among 109 countries in consuming microplastics and was among the top ten for inhaling the most microplastic particles.

The study, published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, found that Malaysians consume an average of 502.3mg of microplastics daily per capita, with more than 50 per cent of this consumption coming from eating fish.

Nik Nazmi said the ministry is in talks with the Economy Ministry to conduct a proper study on a national plastic policy.

He also emphasised the need for a robust legal framework to phase out single-use plastics, increase recycling rates, and combat plastic pollution effectively.

“Discussions are already happening. We are working closely with the ministry’s environment department, meeting with NGOs, academicians, and consultants to learn from other countries and determine the best way forward,” he said. ― Bernama