Pollution charges on single-use plastics

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is working towards implementing pollution charges for single-use plastics which will be imposed on fixed premises, at a minimum rate of 20 sen or more to be determined by local councils through state governments.

This includes premises such as hypermarkets, supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, petrol station convenience store, chain stores and pharmacies.

Minister of Energy, Science, Technology and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said the federal government is giving state governments the liberty to determine the rate, and to decide the implementation time frame from between 2019 until 2021, marking the first phase of the Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030.

“We have already engaged with the ruling government states as well as the opposition states. Everyone has already agreed upon the plan and said they want to do this as well together,” she told reporters at IGEM 2018.

Yeo said the goal is to address the lack of uniformity in the use of single-use plastics with such initiatives already being in effect in some states and result in the improvement and increase in the production and use of bio-degradable bags.

She believes the charges will not be passed on consumers but instead encourage a change in behaviour and lead to people eventually using shopping bags.

Yeo said the money collected from the levy will be ploughed back for green initiatives, creating awareness and reusable shopping bags.

Phase two of the roadmap which will go on between 2022-2025 may see the levy being extended to manufacturers and non-fixed premises.

Meanwhile, the government has also cancelled 155.7256 megawatts (MW) renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT) projects due to unfavourable response in September 2018 and instead opened up 114.5682 MW FiT projects for qualified applicants.

Additionally, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia (SEDA) also rolled out the country’s first solar photovoltaic (PV) monitoring system which is a database connected to grid’s nationwide meant to monitor the performance of solar PV’s on a real time basis.

Keeping up with that, the country’s first Insurance plan for Solar PV’s was also launched today.

The initiative under the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) in collaboration with Allianz Malaysia Bhd and Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association. This scheme is aimed at protecting residential solar PV users.

On another note, the government will be introducing building energy intensity (BEI) labelling as part of its efforts to promote voluntary adoption of energy efficiency in the building sector. This is along with a renewed push for the adoption of energy performance contracting (EPC) for government buildings next year.

Yeo said capital for the retrofitting projects will be derived from the private sector, with any cost savings derived to be shared between both parties.

She said there can be savings if the government is able to save some 20% of its annual electricity costs. This in turn will also translate into a return of investment and profit for investors.

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