PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia aims to abolish single-use plastics by 2030 and will introduce a charge for plastic bags, the minister in charge of environment matters Yeo Bee Yin said on Monday (Sep 24).
Speaking at a town hall to address the issue of plastic waste, she said Malaysia will launch a road map towards zero single-use plastics next month.
Under the new road map, Yeo said plastic straws will be given out only upon request by consumers.
"The road map will include a policy on the charge for plastic bags at shops and where the money goes to," she said.
"The ministry doesn’t want to kill the plastic manufacturers but prepare them to produce more eco-friendly products. The ministry wants to help plastic manufacturers to grow with alternative (products)."
Yeo said the road map will include suggestions for hydrocarbon-based plastic manufacturers in the country to switch to more eco-friendly products such as reusable straws.
Recently, the Federal Territories Ministry announced that plastic straws will be banned in all the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from Jan 1 next year. From 2019, businesses that are found to be still using plastic straws risk having their licences terminated.
During the town hall, Yeo told participants that Malaysia ranked eighth internationally in mismanaged plastic waste pollution.
"Malaysia is the fourth largest plastic exporter in ASEAN and is ranked number 25 in global plastic exports in 2017," she added.
Among the suggestions she raised during the town hall was to have better waste management in Malaysia's islands which are popular diving sites, including Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Redang.