Young people are doing their part to fight plastic waste

PETALING JAYA: While some Malaysians have heeded the call to reduce single-use plastics, others are still ignoring the call and remaining content with the use of plastic.

Student Aidil Iman Aidid said staying prepared with a backpack full of zero-waste alternatives is her key to reducing plastic use.

“It usually comes in the form of things like my own water tank, a set of cutlery, a food container and mesh bags to wrap the food in.

“It’s easier to implement when you’re a student because you’re already carrying your own bag,” he said.

However, this is not the case for most students.

Aidil said there was simply too much plastic waste on his university campus, which prompted him to organize a “Plastic Free Friday” campaign during Ramadan at his university’s bazaar.

“Before buying, they don’t consider bringing a tote or their own zero-waste kit, because they know the vendors will give them a bag or wrap for free.

“This convenience prevents us from preparing to have our zero waste kit with us,” he said, urging more Malaysians to reduce waste.

Newly graduated Nor Ariani Wahida Mohd Nor chose to bring her own metal straw when dining out.

“But I think my hometown of Negri Sembilan doesn’t really enforce the straw ban,” she said, adding that she always had a folded tote bag with her or a plastic bag. used folded in my bag.

“I also bring bottled water every time I go out,” the 23-year-old said.

Ni Ariani is disappointed every time she sees trash floating around.

“Last Friday, I passed by the night market during closing time around 11 p.m., and there were so many dirty plastic bags lying around.

“It’s not the norm here to bring your own bag to the night market. I agree that I am sometimes guilty of this too, but I wish there was a better ‘plastic-free’ initiative that people could comply with,” she said.

Muhd Zaim Nur Zaini, 23, a final year student, believes reducing plastics should be a collective effort.

“Personally, I use my own containers for take-out meals, reduce my use of plastic straws and bring my own bags to the grocery store. However, this effort will only be successful if everyone practices it,” he said.

Muhd Zaim added that due to lack of enforcement and awareness, there is a waning momentum in his immediate community when it comes to reducing single-use plastics, with the effort limited to a small number of members.

According to Statista.com, the estimated value of annual food plastic packaging consumption in Malaysia is 148,000 metric tons, with an annual plastic packaging consumption per capita equal to 16.78 kg in 2020.

This is despite the implementation of the plastic bag non-delivery rule which started in some municipalities in 2011, with Penang making it an everyday affair from the start.

Bryce K. Locke