Source: @dexteris /

One of the world’s most pressing environmental issues is plastic waste. Plastic is the world’s third most abundant waste source, with the total volume of plastic waste increasing in tandem with global population and per capita consumption growth[1].

Single-use plastics are harmful that endangers not only to aquatic life but also humans who drink from Bisphenol A or BPA-containing plastic bottles, which can cause certain type of cancer and increase the risk of miscarriage.

Plastic waste is already making its way to our local landfills, and the ocean too has created an alarming situation in which there will be more plastic waste in the sea than fish by 2050.[2]

To combat the issue of plastic waste, the Penang State Government launched the No-Single-Use Plastic initiative in 2018, in accordance with Malaysia’s Roadmap to Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030.

In fact, Penang is the first state in the country to initiate a state-wide campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags in all hypermarkets and supermarkets.[3] Penang has started its “No Plastic Bag Day” since 2009.

The purpose is to increase public awareness of the importance of environmental protection to reduce the number of plastic bags used that are harmful to the environment and reduce the state’s expenditure on the cost of solid waste disposal.

The “No Plastic Bag” campaign continues in 2021 with No Plastic Bag Day Every Monday – Wednesday to foster long-term behavioural changes in businesses and citizens. From Thursday to Sunday, a fee of RM1.00 is levied per plastic bag to encourage the use of reusable bags instead of single-use plastic bags. The said initiative is welcomed in Penang, where Penangites are now becoming more environmentally conscious, carrying their own reusable bags on shopping trips.

As Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow stated, “empowering people to take ownership of their living environment is critical because we do not want to become overly reliant on single-use plastics, which produce a large amount of waste and contribute to marine litter”. Let us take extra precautions to keep our local lakes, rivers, and oceans as debris-free as possible, so that fish and other edible aquatic animals do not become extinct and our economy does not suffer.


[1] Chen, H.L.., Nath, T.K., Chong, S.H., Foo, V., Gibbins, C, &  Lechner, A.M. (2021). The plastic waste problem in Malaysia: management, recycling and disposal of local and global plastic waste. SN Applied Sciences, 3:437 |

[2] Nur Raudhah, I., & Noor Nirwandy, M.N. (2020). Understanding the Issue of plastic waste pollution in Malaysia: A case for human security. Journal of Media and Information Warfare, Vol. 13(1), 105-140.