Closing remarks by YB Phee Boon Poh, EXCO for Environment and Welfare cum Vice Chairman of Penang Green Council on 18th June 2023 at Gurney Plaza, Penang
Fuyoh! Good evening to all here with us today at this wonderful ‘Fuyoh 2.0: Nurturing the Earth, One Action at A Time’ organised by Penang Green Council! It is my pleasure to be here to celebrate such a meaningful day with everyone.
Every year, we celebrate not only Earth Day, but also World Environment Day on the 5th of June to remind everyone that it is our responsibility to keep our environment healthy. It is already fifty years since we celebrated World Environment Day in 1973, and this year, the theme for World Environment Day celebration is again “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Echoing the theme back in 2018, this shows the urgency to combat plastic pollution. We need urgent actions to address global pressing issues, this includes global temperature rise, sea level rise, and plastic pollution too.
More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10% is recycled. Plastic products create greenhouse gas emissions across their whole lifecycle. If no action is taken, greenhouse gas emissions caused by plastic could account for 19% of the Paris Agreement’s total allowable emissions in 2040 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We have enough of plastic on Earth, and we need to close the plastic tap now.
The Penang State government has initiated many initiatives to reduce single-use plastic usage since year 2009. From only one day campaign, we extended it to no plastic bag day every day at supermarkets and shopping malls today. This is an excellent educational result and we will continue to work on it for many years to come.
I am proud to say that Penang Green Council has been playing an important role advocating for environmental education and coordination among government agencies, stakeholders, NGO, corporates and also the public throughout the years. By taking the lead to address environmental issues around us, we would be able to identify the solutions and steps to take to beat plastic pollution that has become a threat to our Mother Earth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Environmental education (EE) is crucial in protecting our environment as this helps in creating awareness and understanding an individual’s interconnection with their surrounding and cultivating healthy daily practices. On top of that, it also increases the awareness of one’s impact of human activities towards the built environment which we all depend on. EE also raises awareness on the importance of conserving natural resources, practicing 3R concepts and protecting our ecosystem. Through EE, students are also exposed to the world around them. Studies have shown that EE indeed has many benefits for youth, educators, schools and communities. It is also through education, we have the power to shape consumer behaviour and encourage responsible actions.
The knowledge that we pass on today is to empower our next generation and youth to take early actions to maintain a healthy and sustainable future for themselves. Today, the Penang State Government, supported by PGC has been tirelessly working on this. I hope that all parents and kids here today could help be drivers for a healthier, safer and greener Penang.
I would also like to hereby remind everyone to save water and avoid wastage during dry season as water is life. We need water to survive. So do not wait until it is too late for us to make the change, now is the time we give full force to protect our Earth and environment.
Last but not least, I would like to congratulate the team from Penang Green Council for the success in this event. Also, thank you everyone for gathering here today, I hope that everyone had a good time with all the activities prepared by PGC. I wish everyone a good evening and a wonderful time today.