KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (Updated June 26, 10:10 a.m. ET) – The Malaysian plastics industry has launched a 600,000 ringgit ($188,000) public education campaign aimed at reducing litter, following the government's imposition of a once-a-week ban on stores giving out free shopping bags.
The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association said its campaign, dubbed “Don't be a Litterbug,” includes newspaper advertisements, printed plastic shopping bags with anti-litter messages and projects like working with school groups and beach cleanups. It also includes a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DontBeaLitterbug.
The group unveiled it June 23 at their annual dinner in
The funding is not a “terribly big amount” of money but will leverage with more government spending on reducing waste and recycling, said MPMA President Lim Kok Boon.
MPMA, based in the city of
Lim said the campaign will be in several phases, with later phases focusing on promoting the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – and on discussing the sustainability benefits of plastic products.
The group could seek additional funding from its members, he said.
MPMA said litter is one of the reasons the public targets plastic bags and other plastic products as polluting the environment, but it hopes that its campaign will “raise awareness among the public that litterbugs are the real polluters.”
MPMA has had ongoing efforts to reach out to schools in the nation of 27 million people, beginning an awareness program about the 3Rs with five schools in 2010, six in 2011 and 50 this year.
MPMA has about 600 member companies with 75,000 employees. The anti-littering campaign is equal to between 20 and 25 percent of its annual budget, Lim said.
Some environmental groups in the country have called for expanding that bag ban and enacting container deposit laws, but Lim called for a more holistic approach to waste management and said MPMA plans to work with other environmental groups to promote its anti-littering message in shopping malls.
The deputy housing minister, Yang Berusaha Encik Yong Bun Fou, told the MPMA audience that
The government would like to reduce the landfilling of solid waste in the country by 40 percent by 2020, and reduce the generation of greenhouse gases from landfills by 38 percent, he said.