The impact of plastic on the environment and Malaysia’s waste management system — Lim Kok Boon

AUGUST 21 — The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) has long highlighted that littering harms the environment, and that plastic and other waste should be separated for recycling where possible and properly disposed where not. Plastic bags have among the smallest carbon footprints, requiring 90 per cent less energy to recycle and constituting 80 per cent less volume than other materials.

Blanket bans are ineffective and will not help the environment in any meaningful way when the real issue is litter whether it is plastic, paper or metal. Litter and poor disposal of waste is how the environment is harmed.


The most appropriate long-term solution is and always has been to fight litter in all forms and implement an effective waste separation and recycling system. To succeed, this solution must be implemented through education, encouragement and, finally, enforcement especially against litterbugs.

MPMA launched its “Don’t Be A Litterbug” campaign in 2012 to address the source of environmental damage and to educate people on the need to properly dispose of waste.

This year, we launched our first Litter-Free event at Thaipusam in Batu Caves. This pilot project reduced street litter substantially through the placement of sufficient disposal bins along the procession route and on temple grounds for the public to throw away rubbish.

MPMA has also supported local governments in the drive to introduce the national waste separation system which begins on 1st September, 2015. We held a demonstration of how to separate waste at our recent Litter-Free Ramadan event at the Kampung Baru bazaar and distributed brochures with information on recycling and how to separate recyclables.

From the feedback, it was clear that public engagement is crucial to ensure the introduction of waste separation is successful and that Malaysian households need more information for them to play their part.

We hope to expand our role with more Litter-Free and waste separation awareness campaigns, as part of our social responsibility towards the environment and the country. Ultimately, this is the best way forward to keep the environment clean and Malaysia beautiful.

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