Environment Spotlight :5,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily
Minderjeet Kaur, Heidi Foo,Mazlinda Mahmood, Sean Augustin, David Yeow,Shuhada Elis, Sri Kuehnlenz and Adeline Yau
MALAYSIANS are using between 4,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes of plastics a day 10 times more than they did 30 years ago.
This is almost a quarter of the 20,000 tonnes of household solid waste Malaysians generate daily.
In 1975, only 2.5 per cent of the total waste generated was plastics.
Malaysian Plastics Manufacturing Association figures show that packaging accounts for 35 per cent of total use of plastics, followed by electrical and electronic appliances with 25 per cent each.
Universiti Malayas Prof P. Agamuthu, a specialist in solid and hazardous waste management, said plastics clogged up drains and caused flooding. Some animals, he said, died after eating plastics.
In 2005, Malaysians used an average of 66kg of plastics per person, up 10kg over the year before.
In 2004, Germans used 160kg of plastics, Americans 155kg, Singaporeans 103kg, Japanese 87kg, Australians 83kg, and Britons 79kg.
The rising amount of plastics is creating problems at landfills.
“For instance, when plastics are dumped together with biodegradable waste in landfills, they can form a barrier for the organic material to degrade. It can take a century for plastics to degrade.”
Malaysia does not impose legal requirements on the use of plastics.
Agamuthu hoped the government would deliver its promises in the long-overdue Solid Waste Management Bill.
He said having incinerators in central areas could reduce the amount of garbage that ended up in landfills.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Alam Flora Sdn Bhd said recycling had yet to take off in the country in a big way.
More often, it was a passing phase for those who took it up, he added.
I frequently organise gotong-royong activities to clean up the environment. We should be good stewards of Gods creation.
Abdul Fatah HarunRantau Panjang MP
I have been pushing for better public transport facilities in and out of the city. I have had dialogues with various authorities for additional buses.
A. Chandra KumaranFederal Territories Peoples Progressive Party chief
What we need is more and better enforcement, especially on emissions by heavy vehicles. I have raised this in the Dewan Rakyat.
Tan Lian HoBukit Gantang MP
Im a very environmentally-friendly person. I always recycle and teach my children to recycle. I have always supported the governments efforts to preserve the environment.
Omar Md Ishad, 68, retiree