Assistant minister urges local authorities to ban use of plastic bags for shoppers

KUCHING: Assistant Minister for Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil has strongly recommended that both the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) follow the initiative taken by the Miri City Council (MCC) and Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) in banning the use of plastic bags for shoppers.

He also hoped that other local authorities would eventually take up the initiative.

“As both MCC and SMC have been doing it, we hope other city councils like MBKS and DBKU, then other municipal as well as district councils will eventually take up the initiative,” Penguang told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He stressed that Sarawakians must be aware that loving the environment means that they should be aware of the need to protect the environment by recycling their wastes rather than throwing them indiscriminately especially into rivers and streams.

“There ought to be a strong will to do the right thing by not using polystyrene food containers and plastic bags as they are non-degradable. And most importantly, the people must be aware that it all starts with education.

“Then it’s easier for us (government) to introduce new policies to protect the environment.”

Pengguang, who is a former controller of the Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) hoped that the people would have greater awareness on how to save the environment before it was too late.

“We have only one planet. So, everyone must play their part and everyone must start doing it from small scale, such as starting it from our own homes. Then, we tackle the bigger issue together,” he stressed.

Penguang was commenting on the ban on polystyrene food containers and free plastic bags in Selangor and the Federal Territories starting from Jan 1. Shoppers in Selangor can still get single-use plastic bags from stores at a minimum charge of 20 sen each.

Apart from the ruling on plastic bags, Selangor, along with Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, have also banned polystyrene food containers. Perak and Johor have also announced that they would ban the use of polystyrene containers and plastic bags from June.