Miri scrapping fine in 2.0 ‘Say No to Plastic Bags’

MIRI: The green city is not achievable through coercion and hence the Miri City Council (MCC) has re-launched the Say No to Plastic Bags 1.0 Campaign with a 2.0 edition to encourage it on a self-regulatory basis.

The council, through its Solid Waste Reduction Implementation Working Group, found its current 1.0 implementation will not work in the long run to achieve a sustainable green city.

Following the re-launch of the campaign, mayor Lawrence Lai also announced that the penalty charge of RM0.20 per plastic bag imposed in the 1.0 campaign at participating hypermarkets and supermarkets since June 2010 will be scrapped from January.

We realise that it is not practical to force people in Miri to stop using plastic bags unless a new state or federal law is passed to ban the use of plastic bags.

Thus, we re-launched the campaign with 2.0 edition as we want the people to support the campaign on a voluntary basis through high environmental awareness, to ensure the long term objective to make Miri a green city can be achieved totally, he stated when launching the Say No To Plastic Bags 2.0 campaign at Permaisuri Imperial City Mall yesterday.

Lai hopes that a self-regulatory basis will convince city folk on the impact of plastic usage on the environment instead of supporting the campaign by force just to avoid the penalty charge.

On the 1.0 campaign, he explained that it has served its purpose since implementation in 2009, to discourage use of plastic bags which are harmful to health and environment.

The levy of 20 sen has been imposed since June 2010 by the 1.0 campaigns participating shopping outlets, to encourage eco-bag shoppers.

He said half of the fines collected from participating outlets would be donated to registered charities and the rest channelled to MCCs green culture fund.

The council believed the publics green habit has been successfully inculcated since the 1.0 campaign over the last five years.

The elimination of the RM0.20 sen fine effective next year is a start for green citizens to play their own role by using eco-bags for shopping and avoiding plastic.

He hoped shopping outlets will continue to promote the usage of eco-bags and provide other green alternatives such as boxes, biodegradable plastic bag among others.

He also suggested that outlets give incentives such as rebate coupons, redemption points or lucky draws for eco-bag volunteers to encourage more customers to support the green campaign.

As an appreciation, the council will award green star certificates to outstanding shopping outlets for promoting the green culture.

Earlier, around 100 participants took part in a shopping rush event at Boulevard Hypermarket of Imperial Mall.

The shopping rush was organised in conjunction with the re-launching of the No plastic bags 2.0 campaign.

Also present were deputy mayor Mohd Chee Kadir, organising chairman Councillor Robert Ayu, chairman of Solid Waste Reduction Implementation Working Group Dr Uma Devi, councillors and members of Miri Local Agenda (LA) 21.