PUSAT KAJIAN SAMUDERA & PANTAI -- Universiti Sains Malaysia

Red alert on dangers of microplastics

          Doing the needful: Gooi (seated, in white), Ng (seated, left), Chung Hwa Confucian High School vice-principal Loh Saw Bee (seated, right) and Tan (back row, third right) showing the poster after the ‘Un-plastic campaign’ at Wisdom Shine Educare in Medan Terengganu, Penang. Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/16/red-alert-on-dangers-of-microplastics/#eGfXfKTLleiCyjEP.99
Doing the needful: Gooi (seated, in white), Ng (seated, left), Chung Hwa Confucian High School vice-principal Loh Saw Bee (seated, right) and Tan (back row, third right) showing the poster after the ‘Un-plastic campaign’ at Wisdom Shine Educare in Medan Terengganu, Penang. 

GEORGE TOWN: A public campaign will be held to educate the public on the harmful effects of microplastics on the environment.

Microscopes with magnification power of up to 100x will set up the publiuc to "study" the tiny plastic bit (less than 5mm in size) found in zooplankton during the "Un-plastic Campaign" in Beach Street from 8am to 11am on May 26

Zooplankton are drifting ecologically important organisms that are an integral component of the food chain.

The event is organised by Wisdom Shine Educare with support from the state government and Universiti Sains Malaysia's Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (Cemacs).

Cemacs director Datuk Prof Dr Aileen Tan Shau Hwai said visitors would better understand the dangers of microplastics found in the sea during the event.

She said microplastics are extremely small pieces of plastics debris in the environment resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste.

"They are prevalent in the oceans due to global plastic pollution. It can easily pass through water filtration systems and contaminate oceans and lakes.

"They're dangerous and pose a threat to aquatic life which may mistake plastic for food. As part of the food chain, we humans would eventually consume the aquatic life with the plastic in them.

"Studies have found that when microplastics break down further into neoplastics it'll become small enough to enter the human circulatory systems carrying toxins," she said during a press conference announce the campaign at Wisdom Shine Educare in Medan Terengganu here yesterday.

Wisdom Shine Educare principal Rachel Ng said 76 students from the centre and 40m from Chung Hwa Confucian High School would be present to host the campaign.

"There will also be video sharing sessions. interactive games and a jumble sale to promote and raise environmental awareness.

"By engaging the community with activities we hope to discourage the use of disposal plastics," she said.

Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, who was also present, said the state collected over RM9mil since its "No Free Plastic Bag" move in 2009, in which such bags are charged 20 sen each.

"That means people have willingly spent 20 sen for each plastic bag, which amounted to 45 million plastic bags.

"We need to further discourage the use of disposable plastic and this is one of the efforts," He said.

Besides " No Free Platic Bag" policy, the state has also introduced the "No Single-Use Plastic" initiative and "No to Plastic Straw" campaign.

Both initiative and campaign will be fully enforced next year.

Single-use plastics refer to straws and carrier bags ubder the Malaysia's Roadmap towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030,

There will be no more single-use plastics by 2030 under the plan that will see local councils imposing a 'pollution charge' and a 'no straw by default' policy.

The roadmap also sees the implementation of a circular economy for recycling as well as positioning Malaysia as a leader in recycling technology and industry within the region.

Studies showed that Malaysia produced 0.94 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010 alone, of which 0.14 to 0.37 million tonnes may have been washed into the oceans.

 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

By Lo Tern Chern

Source: The Star Online.

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