MALAYSIA’S ROADMAP TOWARDS ZERO SINGLE-USE PLASTICS 2018-2030
Since the 1950s, the production of plastic has outpaced that of almost every other material due to its versatility and functionality. Most of these plastics are designed to be thrown away after being used only once (single-use) which results in single-use disposable plastics waste accumulation. Only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled. Most ends up in landfills, dumps or in the open environment1. Single-use plastics2 are plastics that are commonly used for plastic packaging, carry bags and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away.
Malaysia is a global player in the plastic industry with currently about 1,300 plastic manufacturers. As of 2016, our exports amounted to RM30 billion which saw a 2.26 million metric tonnes of resin utilised to produce plastics.
Environmental problems related to plastic waste have become a major problem in Malaysia where it has been ranked as 8th among the top ten countries with mismanaged plastic waste in the world. A study estimated that Malaysia had produced 0.94 million tons of mismanaged plastic wastes, of which 0.14 to 0.37 million tons may have been washed into the oceans3.
Some studies have also highlighted the potential health effects of single-use plastics on human and animals. Besides that, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) had estimated USD13 billion impact of marine plastic pollution to the Asia Pacific region4.
More than 60 countries have introduced some measures to curb single-use plastics waste such as imposing bans and levies. Some countries have imposed direct ban on single-use plastics but according to a UNEP1 report, the bans have not been effective to curtail plastic pollution. The report also highlights other countries have taken a phased approach and in some cases, complimented with economic instruments. For example, India is planning to phase-out single-use plastics by 2022. Taiwan and European Union plan to phase-out single-use plastics by 2030.
Plastic pollution is a global problem that needs to be addressed in a sustainable manner. Malaysia has always promoted sustainable development by balancing economic growth with environmental protection in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Malaysia plans to address single-use plastics by encouraging the plastic industry to transition to eco-friendly products. This will ensure the industry thrives by adapting green technologies while the environment is safeguarded. As such, this Roadmap is prepared to be used as a guide towards zero single-use plastics in Malaysia in a holistic manner.
Published : 16-Jul-2020