Penangites still willing to pay despite ‘no free plastic bag’ policy

30 Mar 2019 / 16:38 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will hold a discussion with stakeholders before it decides to implement a plastic bag levy of 50 sen, up from the 20 sen per piece now, mainly at supermarkets.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the proposal was discussed at a state exco meeting yesterday, but he has asked for stakeholders to acquire more input from the public before it is carried out.

“In Penang, we’ve found that although there is a plastic bag levy, there are still people who are willing to pay it.

“Since the implementation of the ‘No Free Plastic Bag’ policy in 2009, about RM8-9 million has been collected in plastic bag levy. This large amount shows that consumers are still not dissuaded from paying the 20 sen per bag,“ he told reporters today after launching the ‘Inspiring Future Leaders’ conference by the Penang Women Chamber of Commerce (PWCC).

Previously, state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman, Phee Boon Poh, said the state government was considering increasing the plastic bag charge after it was found that things were not going as expected when it came to reducing plastic bag use.

Nevertheless, Chow said that since the implementation of the 20 sen levy, 50% of consumers now bring their own shopping bags, which is evidence of some environmental awareness.

“What we’ve done is just a small push towards ensuring the environment is not polluted. Apart from this, there is also the ‘No Single-Use Plastic’ movement which must be escalated. There are many things that can and must be done,” he said.

However, asked if the state government would ban the use of plastic totally, Chow said it would be discussed with stakeholders.

“The time will come when we have to do things progressively. Over time, we will see a new lifestyle,“ he added. — Bernama

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