Saturday May 20, 2017
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Shopkeeper Magheswary Pitchay, 55, places goods in a plastic bag at her store in Ipoh. The state government will enforce a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene containers beginning next month. — Picture by Farhan NajibShopkeeper Magheswary Pitchay, 55, places goods in a plastic bag at her store in Ipoh. The state government will enforce a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene containers beginning next month. — Picture by Farhan NajibIPOH, May 20 — Stakeholders are unsure of the move to ban the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers, which will be introduced on June 1.

With less than two weeks to go, they said they are in the dark about how the ban will be carried out and how it will affect them.

When the ban was announced in mid-2016, authorities said it would be implemented in stages.

From last June, state government offices and cafeterias were banned from using those items every Friday.

Since January, those items were banned completely in government premises.

Next the initiative will come into effect across the state to include hypermarkets and commercial premises.

Trader D. Ramachandran, 50, said he had not received any information about the ban and what would happen if he continued to use plastic bags.

“If the government makes it illegal to use plastic bags, we will comply with the rules. But no one told us anything so I don’t know what is going on. Maybe I will get the information when I visit my wholesaler soon,” he told Malay Mail.

Ramachandran said he was open to the idea of using biodegradable bags, but unsure whether his customers would be as accepting.

An economy rice shop operator, who declined to be named, said an official had visited her shop recently.

“He told us we will be fined up to RM20,000 if we are found using plastic bags and polystyrene containers in our premises from June 1,” she said.

Johnson Phoon, the Perak branch chairman of the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association, said the association is opposed to the move despite meeting with the authorities a few months ago.

“Similar bans have been implemented in other states and I was told the use of large garbage bags have increased because people still need to use them to dispose off their trash.

“In the end, people still use plastic bags. The difference is now the bags are bigger. This is why we disagree with the ban,” he said.

State environment and green technology committee chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria said he would be holding a press conference on the matter soon.

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