The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is urging the Malaysian government to work with companies to immediately come up with effective measures to eliminate single-use plastics.

This, after a study of Asia’s worst ocean polluters, showed that Malaysians are the largest individual consumers of plastic packaging, greatly contributing to the million tons of plastic that are dumped into the world’s oceans annually.

Kuala Lumpur-based WWF coordinator Thomas Schuldt said one Malaysian citizen consumes about 16.8 kg of plastic each year, thus, Malaysia ranked highest among six Asian countries analyzed in terms of annual per-capita plastic packaging consumption.

“There is lots of food delivery, which is plastic packaging-heavy – but in addition, there are also a lot of day-to-day products bought in supermarkets,” the coordinator of work on a plastic circular economy added.

Researchers found that Malaysia’s mixed waste initially ends up in a landfill and is later washed into rivers by extreme weather.

“Besides hurting the tourism, fishing and shipping industries, plastic waste can kill marine life and enter the human food chain,” the experts added.

WWF also advises Malaysian authorities to tie up with business firms for the funding of recycling push as well as to launch campaigns encouraging Malaysians to practice recycling and segregation.

In 2019, the government launched the “Malaysia Plastics Pact” to initiate a public debate on how to improve recycling and its results are expected to be released next month.

Environmental analysts suggest that Malaysian manu­facturers and businesses should set and meet reduction targets in a definite timeline in order to bring out actual and measurable plastic waste elimination.

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