[Put on the environmentalist hat]
Many of us can say the word pollution loud and clear, even know the meaning to it. The basic information like recycling bottles and newspaper, plant trees, no littering and all the small details there is about taking care of our environment based on what I recalled is something we learn during our school days. So why is it that it’s 2017 and we still get news about how our country is failing the mother earth bit by bit?
Implementation and practice.
We have all kinds of technology, we educate our children and provide them the knowledge about environment and yet we lack in daily practices. Before I came to the UK, I was probably just as ignorant about pollution in Malaysia. Yes, I did bits of recycling like the newspapers, clothes, plastic bags and such but that’s about it. It is only after I stayed in the UK then I realize the difference in level of commitments.
While we keep on saying in Malaysia that carpooling helps to reduce all kinds of pollution, we still prefer to drive our own car. Many reasons were given; the traffic is horrible, people need to be mobile so car is essential, there’s no other way besides driving. Some are probably true, but most of the time we tend to give ourself that excuses so we can take the car out for a drive comfortably. The public transport is Malaysia probably isn’t amazing but it is developing quite drastically and to be honest, it’s not bad at all. I remembered how KTM used to be older train coach and you’ll have no ventilation during peak hours (all you smell is people’s sweat) but last summer, I took the KTM and I must say it’s different. It was my first KTM ride after 2 years roughly and I realize the coach are new (or modified perhaps), there’s better air circulation in it too. The LRT on the other hand, is amazing. Apart from some glitches due to bad weather, it did a beautiful job sending me to work comfortably every day. With the rise in better public transportation, Malaysians should learn to change their lifestyle too. There are many people using it currently, but I think the goal is to encourage as many people as possible to shift to public transportation so Malaysia can focus on developing the system rather than building more highways and put up tolls (we’ll run out of spaces to build highways soon if we don’t give public transportation a chance). I really like the idea of commuting, it’s convenient, cheaper and you get to enjoy some time on your own before going to wherever it is you are heading. Countries like the UK, Japan and even most of the European countries have good access to public transportation. So maybe it’s time to learn from them on this too.
Then, there’s the issue of plastic bag bans. No, there is no need to get panicky about it. If others can do it, why can’t Malaysians? Are we truly going to put our convenience first? It’s understandable how going for groceries shopping may be tougher now or getting that takeaways but then, if we don’t start from somewhere we’ll never change. Plastic bags production may be profitable but in the long run it might not last. The world is shifting to a no plastic bag goal, so if you’re in a plastic bag business you should find new ideas, be more creative and adopt the new concept. There are many ways to make money but there is only one planet we can live on. If we can slowly change our habits and lifestyle, I don’t see any problem with less usage of plastic bags. It might take time, let’s be realistic here because we’re talking about changing people and the norm. But hey, there’s always that starting point somewhere right. Maybe slowly we can start bringing our own containers when we pack food or bring our own shopping bag when we do groceries shopping. A foldable trolley bag would be great invention, something that can fit inside the car, reused and lightweight because nobody wants to carry a heavy trolley everywhere. It’s good we’re starting to shift to being less dependent on plastic bags but we must also make sure the access to plastic bags alternatives are they so citizens can use the alternatives.
With a rapid increase in consumption, Malaysia definitely should focus on managing environment right. We need to ensure natural resources are sustained properly for country’s source of income. We need to enforce environment laws so that people obey what they should rightfully do. A recent article by The Star with heading that 1000 acre land was illegally cleared shocked me. It’s not acceptable at all that a land that huge can be cleared illegally without anyone noticing. Enforcement of law is the key here as well as nurturing ourselves at citizens of Malaysia. Apart from education system, engaging environmental issues is probably one of the primary target areas we should focus on as well. The environment not only acts as a source of income, it contributes to health and wellbeing of our citizen, influence tourism industry and many other factors. It’s time for Malaysians to hold their hands together and think about sustaining a healthy environment.
This is a friendly reminder to all Malaysians (including me!) to be more attentive towards mother nature, to continuously educate yourselves about the environment and your surrounding and of course to help shape a better Malaysia.