PETALING JAYA: Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim has voiced his commitment to reduce the usage of single-use plastics and wants the Johor state government to follow suit.
Concerned with the plastic waste crisis that Malaysia and the world is facing, Tunku Ismail urged the state government to go further than just banning plastic straws in the fight against climate change.
“We cannot continue to be among the worst-affected countries for plastic pollution with less than 5% of waste being recycled since 2013,” he said, quoting an Al Jazeera report of Malaysia becoming the top destination for plastic waste.
“As an awareness step to reduce plastic usage, I will reduce usage of single-use plastics in functions or events under my control,” he said.
Tunku Ismail said while the state government has plans to ban the use of plastic straws this year, it is still not enough, and urged them to take a leap forward in conserving and rehabilitating nature.
“I believe the banning of straws alone is not sufficient, but the people should be encouraged to reduce single-use plastics, such as food wrappers, plastic water bottles, plastic utensils and others in stages,” he said on Facebook yesterday.
“For starters, the state government can consider a policy where the use and purchase of single-use plastic is reduced in stages at state government offices, programmes and schools to raise the public’s awareness on the usage of plastic,” he said.
Tunku Ismail said this will educate the young generation to understand the importance of conserving the environment.
“A roadmap suited to Johor, after taking into account the opinion and views of all parties, including environmental associations and non-governmental organisations, should be designed to ensure we become a state free of single-use plastic.
“I hope shops and businesses in Johor become part of this campaign so that we could help the environment and wildlife together.
“The responsibility of conserving nature is a joint responsibility,” he said.
Tunku Ismail’s support is crucial at a time when Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin pushes Malaysia towards a zero-single use plastic nation by 2030.
Phase 1 of the Roadmap Towards Zero Single-use Plastics 2018-2030 started with a “no straw by default” policy in restaurants and eateries.
Johor has voiced its commitment to follow suit in banning plastic straws from January.