PERAKIANS have less than two months to go before a total ban on the usage of plastic bags comes into effect throughout the state, especially in supermarkets, hypermarkets and sundry stores.
The current once-a-week plastic bag ban on Saturdays will be extended to seven days a week starting June this year.
The ban was part of the state government’s commitment towards eliminating polystyrene and plastic waste.
However, the news was met with mixed reactions from the public.
Most shoppers interviewed by MetroPerak were either unprepared for the total ban or not looking forward to the inconvenience of bringing one’s own bags.
Homemaker Low Mee Foong, 53, said she goes grocery shopping with her family once a week and each time, she spends between RM80 and over RM100.
Pushing a trolley chock-full of groceries, she said not being able to use plastic bags would be very troublesome for her in the future.
“I am not used to the idea of bringing my own recyclable bags when I go shopping.
“What if I suddenly decide to buy more and my bags are not enough to contain all my groceries?
“I will have no choice but to use recyclable bags or just push my trolley and unload the groceries into my car right away,” she said.
Low said she preferred if the ban was implemented once a week or a few days a week, instead of every day.
“Plastic bags are very useful. I can always reuse them in my dustbins so this saves me money as I would not need to buy garbage bags,” she said.
Likewise, a human resource executive who wanted to be known only as Kat, in her 50s, said the ban was ridiculous.
Kat added that she normally went shopping on Sundays, a day after the No Plastic Bag Day, which was why she never cultivated the habit of bringing her own recyclable bags.
“With a total ban on plastic bags, it would be very troublesome because people come to these places to buy a lot of things, including wet items like chicken and fish.
“I do not like the idea of the ban, but there is nothing I can do about it,” she said.
Homemaker Yotom Andinga, 36, said she needed time to get used to the total ban.
“I usually come out to shop on Saturdays, which is already a No Plastic Bag Day here, but we are still allowed to buy plastic bags for 20 sen if we forget our recyclable bags.
“If I forget to bring recyclable bags in the future, I guess I will have to forget about shopping that day and come back another time with the bags,” she said.
Yotom, however, thinks the ban was a good idea as it was more environmental-friendly.
“If it could help save the environment, then the ban should be in place,” she said.
Meanwhile, retiree Norsiah Hamzah, 65, said it would be difficult if she forgets to bring her own recyclable bags after the ban was implemented.
“Right now, we can still buy plastic bags at 20 sen each. But if they decide to take that away in the future, it’ll be hard.
“I will have to be more mindful and remember to bring my own bags next time,” she said.
Similarly, a restaurant owner who wanted to be known as Shermaine, in her 30s, said she would also have to make it a point to bring recyclable bags for her shopping trips.
“I do not have the habit yet and I think it will be hard to get used to a total ban.
“Sometimes when I go out, I can even forget to bring some of my baby’s necessities,” said the mother of one.
Although the ban was a way to address environmental issues, Shermaine said, ultimately, the government needed to be able to enforce the ban.
“This ban would not be effective if it did not come with proper enforcement,” she said.
A woman who wanted to be known only as Devi, in her 50s, said she was fine with the ban being extended to seven days a week.
“I’m supportive of this idea because I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a place where the environment is taken good care of.
“I’m already using recyclable bags everyday on my own, so this ban would be a great way to ensure a better environment for our younger generation,” she said.