MNS wants plastic bags to be phased out in Langkawi

Posted on January 11, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

LANGKAWI: In a bid to turn this resort into the “greenest island in Malaysia”, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has proposed that plastic bags be phased out at popular tourist destinations.

The Malaysian Nature Society’s (MNS) Langkawi Country Code draft has called for an eventual total ban of plastic bags in duty-free shops, supermarkets and grocery shops.

The code is a guideline for sustainable eco-tourism for Langkawi.

It is expected to be distributed to the Langkawi Development Authority, Langkawi Tourism City Municipal Council, tourism operators and stakeholders by March.

MNS president Assoc Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed said apathy on the use of plastic bags was a real environmental and health problem.

“The commitment from Penangites and the state government should be lauded and not politicised.

“The Penang, Selangor and Putrajaya (no free plastic bag day) campaigns are an important model and process that we all can learn from,” he said in an email interview.

Dr Maketab is currently attending a dialogue with MNS Langkawi branch members in Kedah.

MNS Langkawi branch chairman Eric R. Sinnaya said the Langkawi ruling should start with a weekend ban, and within a year, a complete ban.

“It will be difficult for people to adjust in the beginning, but in time with education and enforcement, we can have a plastic-free island.

“Langkawi is a small island with a population of 90,000 – the ban can be successfully managed,” he said.

Sinnaya said 100% biodegradable plastic bags could be introduced as the technology was already available here.

“It will only cost about 20% more to produce but in the long-run, the effect will be 300% cheaper,” he said.

The code was among the outcomes of the “Conservation of biodiversity in Langkawi through sustainable eco-tourism” project funded under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Pro­gramme and implemented by MNS.

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