SHOPPERS have to pay RM1 instead of 20 sen for each plastic bag at the supermarkets from Jan 1 next year, says state Environment and Welfare Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
Phee said currently the state has banned the sale of plastic bags from Monday to Wednesday since July this year but would strictly enforce it from next year.
This means that shoppers can still buy plastic bags at 20 sen each from Thursday to Sunday this year but have to pay RM1 for each plastic bag from Thursday to Sunday next year.
“This is important for us to reduce plastic waste in the state,” Phee said in his winding-up address during State Legislative Assembly in Dewan Sri Pinang today.
“Hence, before it’s implementation, we will use these two months’ period to promote and prepare ourselves for this initiative.
“We need to make sure the consumers are aware of the impact of plastic waste.”
Penang, which is the first state in Malaysia to introduce ‘No Free Plastic Bag’, has been charging 20 cents for each plastic bag over a decade.
While the state has from time to time increased more days for people to observe the no plastic bag sale ruling, it does however allow shoppers to purchase plastic bags at 20 sen each.
Businesses have also been encouraged not to provide plastic bags to shoppers.
The state has collected over RM9 million from the sale of plastic bags by supermarkets, indicating that people are willing to pay 20 sen for each plastic bag.
Phee has been making impassioned pleas to the public to lend their support to protect the environment and take care of marine life, especially by saying ‘No to Plastic Straws and Single-use Plastics’ as well as ‘No to Plastic Bag’.
On another matter at the state assembly, Phee said the state government, through Penang Green Council (PGC), was collaborating with the Environment and Water Ministry (Kasa) and Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) to conduct the SEA Circular Project.
“It aims to address the impact of plastic pollution on the marine environment by making changes in the existing plastic waste management system,” he added.
Phee said the state views the river pollution issue seriously.
“Therefore, the state had also established a task force to tackle sea and river pollution issues,” he said.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix Alvie Cheng