Have you ever counted how many plastic bags you use within a day?
Just imagine whenever you order a take away “mi soup” at a hawker centre, the proprietor will normally separate the noodles and soup into two different plastic bags, and then put them into another bigger T-shirt plastic bag for you to easily carry your meal home.
A small thing such as a take-home-lunch will result in the use of about 3 pieces of plastic bags. How about when you purchase daily goods at the grocers, supermarkets, or hypermarkets? The population of Malaysia is approximately 28,310,000; society’s consumption rate of plastic bags is now estimated at well over 50 billion plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute. (www.care2.com ).
That is a huge number of plastic bag use per day. The use of plastic bags must be control before our environment become worse.
Penang was the first state in Peninsular Malaysia which implemented a No Plastic Bag Day in shopping complexes and hypermarkets on the 1st of July 2009. In addition, Sabah has launched a similar campaign since the 7th of June.
Sabah and Penang were then followed by Selangor, the Miri (Sarawak) local council, and the Sibu (Sarawak) local council.
The No Plastic Bag Day campaign also encouraged the participation of local councils, traders, retailers, supermarkets, stores, and outlets around the nation. Apart from that, the programme was also extended to smaller stores, pasars (wet markets), as well as hawker centres.
With this campaign gaining support from public, the Penang state government declared ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ for every Monday, which was then extended to Tuesday and Wednesday. The Selangor state government implements the campaign every Saturday may be extending No Plastic Bag Day to weekdays.
The objective of No Plastic Bag Day is to increase public awareness of the dangers brought by plastic products, for instance plastic bags are non-biodegradable products that made from polyethylene, that requires about 100 years to finish undergoing decomposition.
While decomposing, it may be mistaken as food by animals, especially marine organisms. Many animals are killed due to the ingestion of plastic bags. Furthermore, this campaign also intends to reduce the demand on plastic bags among the public. Spending on plastic products brings enormous impact to the environment; plastic bags that end up in landfills will take a very long period of time to degrade and break down into tiny toxic compound that then contaminate the soil and pollute water sources.
Education on reducing the need for plastic bags for all ages is a must. Each individual has a responsibility to keep our environment safe and healthy. Every resident of the Earth must contribute to protecting and preventing our mother earth from becoming worse. Participating in the No Plastic Bag Day is one of the most meaningful ways. Let us start reducing the use of plastic bags today!
By Kwek Shi Ting