Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Plastic pollution in the spotlight

Plastic is one of the most heavily deliberated environmental topics. Although recognising the necessity and convenience of plastic due to its lightweight, durable and resilient properties, it also one of the planet’s greatest environmental challenges.

The matter was underlined by Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) of the Ministry of Development (MoD) Director Hajah Martinah binti Haji Tamit in her capacity as the Chair of the Environment Week Working Committee during the first thematic session for the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (Brunei MYCE 2023) Environment Week: Road towards a Sustainable Environment #BeTheSolution yesterday at the Chancellor Hall of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

She said that when produced, used and disposed improperly, plastic pollutes the ecosystems, creates risks for human health and destabilises the climate.

“Even when discarded properly in landfills, plastic can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, and when it does, it may leach into soil, rivers and the oceans, and harm the marine life.”

Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure, Housing and Professional) at the MoD Ir Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Zakaria was the guest of honour.

The day saw a panel discussion moderated by UBD’s assistant professor in physical chemistry Dr Fairuzeta binti Haji Md Ja’afar who dove deep into some of the most pressing issues around plastic pollution and how to overcome them through a whole-of-nation approach.

ABOVE & BELOW: The panel discussion in progress; and Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure, Housing and Professional) at the Ministry of Development (MoD), Ir Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Zakaria attends as the guest of honour. PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD
PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD
Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation of the MoD Director Hajah Martinah binti Haji Tamit delivers a speech. PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD

Panelists included Head of Pollution Control Division at JASTRe Pengiran Haryanti binti Pengiran Haji Petra; Big BWN Project founder Noorhafizah Rashid; Country Hub Leader for Sustainable Ocean Alliance Shaima Haji Misli; and Strategic Planning Manager of Kawan Bumi Sdn Bhd Sun Jen Hwann.

The session also saw virtual participation by senior environmental consultant at DHI-Americas in the United States Dr Denise Antoinette Devotta.

The panel session shared insights and experiences in dealing with the global plastic crisis, emphasising the importance of all stakeholders’ involvement and commitment to tackle the issue and further the knowledge of global best practices for plastic waste management and alternatives to plastics.

The session concluded with a question and answer session.

The session drew 150 participants, from government agencies, industries, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector including supermarkets and food and beverages companies. It provided a platform to deliberate and facilitate experience-sharing among various stakeholders.

The Environment Week: Road Towards a Sustainable Environment #BeTheSolution is organised by the MoD and JASTRe in collaboration with DHI Water & Environment is held in conjunction with Brunei MYCE 2023 and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day.

The three-day event will close with a tree planting and beach clean-up tomorrow at Muara Beach Recreational Park.

The two-day exhibition features a range of green initiatives and services offered by government agencies, government-linked companies (GLCs), private companies, and NGOs, providing opportunities for the public to gain knowledge and raise environmental awareness. – Rokiah Mahmud

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