Since 1970, over a billion people come together each year on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day and show their support for environmental protection. For Year 2018, the theme is “End to Plastic Pollution”.
This year Ipoh Parade, Koperasi Hijau (KOHIJAU), Ipoh City Watch, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Perak, Lions Club of Perak Silver State and Rukun Tetangga Jelapang joined hands in promoting the cause.
A two-day exhibition was held at the shopping mall on April 21 and 22. Shoppers had the opportunity to find out how they could join in as volunteers to help protect the environment and get paid for their efforts via KOHIJAU-ICYCLE recycling reward point system.
The highlight of the event was a talk on carbon footprint and global warming by Associate Professor Dr Richard Ng, Director of Open University Malaysia who is also the Chairman of Ipoh City Watch and KOHIJAU.
Present were Zulqarnain Mohammad, Ipoh City Council’s Director of Town Planning, Angela Jun, Mrs Earth Day 2017 and Raja Katija Raja Muda Musa.
Plastic takes between 500 years to 1000 years to disintegrate. Hence, Richard urged people to reduce the use of plastics. He provided tips on ways to reduce usage of plastics such as using reusable bags when shopping, using reusable bottle and mug, investing in travel cutlery, avoid using drinking straws, cook more at home than eating out and boycott microbeads.
According to Richard, the 2.7 million Perakeans produce an estimated 600,000 tonnes of garbage annually. Of this a total of 15 percent or 90,000 tonnes consists of plastics. About 10,000 tonnes are recovered through recycling while the remaining 80,000 tonnes ended up in landfills, rivers and illegal dumpsites.
He urged the Perak State Government to reverse its decision on plastic banning which was supposed to be implemented effective June 1, 2017 but has been postponed indefinitely. According to him, many states such as Selangor, Malacca and Johor have banned the use of certain plastics and polystyrenes. Perak should set a good example if it wants to retain Ipoh as the cleanest city in Malaysia and Perak, the second cleanest state in Malaysia.
To help Ipoh Parade shoppers to practise recycling, a recycling bin has been placed at the basement car park next to the car wash centre. Shoppers need to place all their recyclables in a disposal bag, with the barcode sticker attached, and drop it into the designated bin.
The recyclables will be collected every week, separated at the factory, weighed and given recycling points. Members can check and redeem their recycling points online at: www.icycle-global.com
To date, KOHIJAU has launched 71 bins in Perak and has over 7000 registered members. A total of 80,000kg of recyclables have been collected thus far.