Press Conference of Penang World Cleanup Day 2023

Speech for YB Dato’ Seri Sundarajoo, EXCO for Housing and Environment on 14th of September 2023 at Bilik Nilam, KOMTAR:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!

Thank you for your time today. We are happy to announce that Penang is organising its own World Cleanup Day this year in conjunction with the global World Clean Up Day in September.

This is the month where millions of volunteers, governments and organisations from 191 countries get united to realise the dream of having a waste-free world not only for ourselves, but also for our future generations. This year, in conjunction with World Cleanup Day this coming 16th of September, Penang will also be playing our part  by organising a cleanup on the 30th of September later.  

In line with Penang2030 vision to build Penang as a “Family-focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation”, this cleanup aims to unite corporate sectors and industries to come together for a green cause for our Mother Earth. Proudly organised by Penang Green Council and supported by various key partners including two local councils: Penang City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP), and also all the sponsors and participating organisations.

As we all know, waste is an impending worldwide crisis. We can easily find litter on the streets, in the environment, the rivers, bushes, jungle and oceans. Why is this happening and how did these waste end up being there? We, humans are to take the blame because we are the ones who generated all these wastes and yet we leave them in the environment. Therefore, although cleaning up the waste is a must, we are also looking into the roots of the problem to minimise the impact of human litters.

Do you know that Penang has a waste per capita of 1.04kg per day? A total of 2300 tonnes waste gets sent to our only landfill Pulau Burung every day. 31.83% of the waste are recyclables (glass, metal, tetrapak, plastic,paper), 50.96% consists of organic waste while other wastes includes unrecyclable, green waste, and household hazardous items.

In Penang State, reducing waste is our aim so that we can minimise the waste management cost and burden and as well as to extend the lifespan of our only landfill, Pulau Burung. In order to achieve this, the State government has implemented the Waste Segregation at Source Policy since 2017 where individuals, institutions, and businesses are requested to segregate their waste into general waste and recyclables.

To combat plastic pollution, Penang State also introduced the No Free Plastic Bag Campaign since 2009. The chain of initiatives continued with No Plastic Day Campaign and the latest – No Single-use Plastic Campaign.  Both ‘No Single-Use Plastic Campaign’ and ‘No Plastic Straw Campaign’ discourage merchants from giving out plastic bags and straws by default. We are the first state to implement these initiatives and it is surely a great start for Penang to move towards a cleaner and greener state that inspires the nation. Today, education continues and we would leverage the effort by taking actions to clean up our homeland together with all the stakeholders and key players.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing are widely spoken nowadays as it is used to screen investments based on corporate policies and to encourage companies to act responsibly. Environment always comes first when we talk about ESG, because it is very crucial for us to take real actions to restore the damage and conserve what we have on Earth. I believe through the upcoming Penang World Cleanup Day, we will be able to increase ESG awareness and uptake for more industries and corporate sector in the future. The strength of a team can bring us further, and each stakeholder here plays a role as the leaders that will change the world into a better place.

We are happy to have the sponsors, corporates and partners onboard with us in accomplishing the mission today. It is our responsibility to protect the environment and biodiversity as human are the only habitants that has the ability to think creatively and making sure of the sustainability of our planet. But we cannot do it alone, therefore I urge for every Penang citizen to also take the lead to not only cleanup, but also to stop littering.

Lastly, thank you Penang Green Council for organising Penang World Cleanup Day, thank you partners and sponsors for the support as well. Action always speaks louder than words, we are looking forward to the cleanup day so we can make a difference through our actions!

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