KUALA NERUS, June 10 — The Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Ministry (NRES) is drafting a suitable policy to tackle pollution issues at sea following global predictions stating that plastic waste in oceans will overwhelm the number of fish by 2050.

Its minister, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the measure was crucial so that the problem of plastic waste could be handled more effectively as it was reaching a critical stage.

“The government has taken several initiatives such as Zero Single-Use Plastics, 2018-2030 and Malaysia’s Plastics Sustainability Roadmap 2021-2030,” he told reporters after attending the Environmental Sustainability Tour at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, (UMT) here today, adding that the government has also installed Log Booms at river estuaries as an alternative to stop the flow of waste to the sea.

“About waste traps, we try to gather as much as possible, but there are limits. Also, they require periodic maintenance to ensure their cleanliness. Otherwise, flood issues and other problems could occur... and this requires us to reconsider the matter.

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“So, we’re considering a suitable policy... besides looking at the possibility of introducing legislation at the national level to help reduce the use of single-use plastics towards zero plastic,” he said, noting that waste in oceans were caused by the public’s irresponsible behaviour of throwing rubbish into rivers or seas, as well as some cleaning contractors’ deliberately dumping rubbish into rivers, which are then carried out into the sea.

The Environmental Sustainability Tour, organised by the NRES with the cooperation of the Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation, is being held at UMT as its first location and aims to involve youth in environmental sustainability issues.

UMT is also launching its Sustainable Oceans Alliance Malaysia (SOA Malaysia), led by university youth leaders, with the focus of empowering and guiding youth ‘sea’ leaders in the country through its mission of waste-free oceans. — Bernama

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