Sunday, December 10, 2023
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Warning bells on plastic pollution

Some 16 per cent of the overall waste in the Sultanate is composed of plastic materials and the issue is worrying in the country, said Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) Director of the Ministry of Development Martinah binti Haji Tamit.

She pointed out while plastic use could provide some benefits and convenience to the community and consumers, what remains problematic is the mismanagement of single use plastics and inefficient waste disposal.

In combatting the issue, the government launched numerous initiatives including the ‘No Plastic Bag Weekend Initiative’, ‘No Plastic Bag Everyday Initiative’ and ‘Plastic Bottle Free Initiative’, among others.

She made these comments at Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam’s Eco Chat Series on Saturday, focussing on the need for the nation to band together to fight plastic pollution
in Brunei.

The forum, (BIBD), as part of SME 360 Series of the Sustainable Nation Campaign, continued to their highlighted the harmful effects of single use plastics on the ecosystem and how a circular economy can play its role in the protection of our environment in the Sultanate.

Speakers at the chat series. PHOTO: BIBD

The World Economic Forum states that a holistic circular economic model is critical to reducing environmental degradation and prioritsing biodiversity and nature, while also delivering on future competitiveness.

Martinah said plastic pollution is a long and hard-fought battle in Brunei, while there are initiatives and policies implemented by the government, there is still room for improvement in Brunei to achieve a sustainable and efficient waste management system in the country.

She also called on for support and participation from individuals and organisations to ensure the agenda can be achieved.

Other speakers included Kaimana Living co-founder Tiffany Lai, Reef Check Brunei Researcher and First Secretary Emily Yong and Kilang ReRoot co-founder Syamilah Osman.

Syamilah said while Bruneians are aware of the ongoing fight against plastic pollution, there was a need to step up the effort. She also shared the current COVID-19 pandemic made the agenda more challenging as more people tend to order food deliveries and take-aways resulting in an increase of single-use plastics.

Meanwhile, Tiffany suggested for more policing from the authorities and awareness campaigns.

This was echoed by Emily who raised concern on the issue of plastic-made materials such as fish nets and ghost nets being trapped in the coral reefs destroying the ecosystem and
marine life.

The speakers encouraged the public to commit and contribute to the agenda of fighting plastic pollution in Brunei as well to lead by example to achieve the goal of creating a green and sustainable environment in Brunei.

The Eco Chat Series, run in partnership with Community for Brunei and ASEAN Youth Advocates Network (AYAN) Brunei, is intended to be a catalyst for change and education by starting a conversation and educating the public with industry experts and stakeholders.

Among the topics that will be covered in the Series on climate crisis, sustainable development goals, plastic pollution and fast fashion.

The series, open to the public and live streamed to the community, will feature speakers from BIBD, the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat, Green Brunei, the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports, Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd, Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd,
among others.

The Eco Chat Series is set to continue with a discussion on sustainable food consumption and production on March 5.

The public can follow BIBD and Community for Brunei on their social media channel on how to register and future series dates.

Within one of BIBD’s Sustainability Framework Pillar – Responsible Entrepreneurship, BIBD SME360 hopes to provide a platform for businesses to learn and understand their business model and how they can partake towards building a business that helps create a sustainable nation, and support the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalamam’s aim of reaching net zero by 2050.

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