Calls on Corporations and Governments to Break Free from Plastic
As part of this year’s Earth Day celebrations, #breakfreefromplastic, a global movement backed up by more than 1,100 organizations, including the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), is urging governments worldwide to restrict or eliminate the use of single-use plastics (SUPs), stressing that the unrestrained production and consumption of disposable plastics is bringing on a plastic flood of crisis proportions.
Citing the lead of 36 countries and hundreds of cities and local government units around the world that have already imposed prohibitions or levies on the use of single-use plastics like plastic bags, straws, bottles, cups and cutlery, movement leaders pointed out that more countries and institutions are expected to follow suit as consumer attitudes change and public revulsion over plastic pollution intensifies (report titled Stemming the Plastic Flood is attached) .
“The good news is that more and more countries and cities are starting to take concrete measures to move their constituencies away from the nightmare of plastic pollution. We expect that increasing public awareness and anger on this issue will help galvanize other governments to do the right thing by restricting or prohibiting the use and proliferation of disposable plastics, especially when practical and ecological alternatives exist. Corporations that continue to dispense single-use plastics should start designing waste out of their products, ” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of #breakfreefromplastic.
Taxing or putting levies on the use of SUPs like plastic bags or banning them outright have proven effective in encouraging consumers to shift to alternatives. Such policies are also compelling corporations and institutions to innovate and invest more in research on sustainable alternatives.
To commemorate Earth Day, #breakfreefromplastic member organizations around the world have initiated various activities asking corporations and governments to break free from plastic. For our part, CAP conducted an awareness raising programme for children in Penang Suya Meiyarivagam centre in Gelugor. We explained to the children why we need to stop using single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, water bottle and plastic bags. Children were also taught how to do composting of organic kitchen waste and making of cloth bags from discarded t-shirts.
CAP and SAM urge the Malaysian government and local authorities to impose bans on non-essential single-use, disposable plastic items. We need to embrace zero waste systems and live in harmony with nature.
Say No To Plastic! Stop Plastic Pollution!
PRESS RELEASE, 23 April 2018