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Environment Minister: Single-use plastic ban by 2025 impossible

Publish date: Sun, 19 May 2024, 11:40 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: It is impossible for Malaysia to eliminate single-use plastics by 2025, said Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability minister, in an interview on the New Straits Times' Beyond the Headlines, said the significant challenges stem from implementation at local levels.

He said while Selangor and Penang may have adopted the plan rapidly, the states are facing difficulties in extending these policies uniformly, especially to smaller vendors.

"When I took office, the goal was set. But now, it's clear that we might not meet it," he added.

According to a 2020 WWF report, Malaysia became a leading consumer of plastic packaging and among the top contributors to marine plastic waste.

Then, the "no single-use plastic bag" campaign followed suit, advocated passionately by Nik Nazmi.

It began in 2022 with the aim to completely ban the use of plastic bags across all business sectors nationwide by 2025.

The minister said behavioural changes are part of the slow undertaking of the movement as the deadline approaches.

However, he said his ministry remains committed to tackling plastic pollution.

He said overcoming the obstacles will be by developing viable alternatives (to plastic) and improving recycling systems.

At the moment, he said these alternatives remain costly due to limited production scale and efforts are ongoing to increase production and reduce costs.

Concerted efforts from both the government and the public are essential, he said.

"What we (the ministry) are also looking at now is working through a global plastic treaty.

"We may not meet the target exactly on time, but we are making significant progress," he added.

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