UK and Malaysia join hands in tackling plastic pollution

HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex speaking at screening of BBC Studios' Blue Planet II in Kuala Lumpur.

HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex speaking at screening of BBC Studios’ Blue Planet II in Kuala Lumpur.

The British High Commission and the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) jointly hosted a special reception and screening of BBC Studios’ Blue Planet II in Kuala Lumpur today. The event was graced by HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Tengku Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, both of whom lent a royal touch to the event.

The screening is the latest in a series of collaborations between the UK and Malaysia government in addressing the global problem of plastic pollution and climate change. The UK is already working with Malaysia on delivering climate change workshops, and will be conducting a venture workshop in December 2019 designed to find innovative solutions to mitigate the use of plastic.

The screening was part of a full-day programme which included an exhibition that showcases joint UK-Malaysian efforts in tackling plastic waste and protecting the environment. It featured British and Malaysian green tech companies, environmental NGOs, as well as teachers and students. Running in parallel to the exhibition was a business dialogue on plastic organised by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. The British Council also ran a number of education workshops featuring ScubaZoo and MareCet which engage and educate school children on the efforts they can take to lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Setting up Plastics Pact

MESTECC is currently in talks to set up the Malaysia Plastics Pact with a variety of businesses, government agencies and civil society members, in an effort to bring key stakeholders together to tackle the plastic waste problem in the country.

YB Yeo Bee Yin, the Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change said:

Malaysia Plastics Pact will complement and drive our efforts in developing a plastic circular economy as outlined in the Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics.

YB Yeo Bee Yin called on organisations, government agencies and civil society to be part of this multi-stakeholder platform to address plastic pollution by signing up on Malaysian Plastics Pact at MESTECC’s website.

The minister also highlighted that the Blue Planet documentary screening is one way of increasing public awareness on environmental issues.

MESTECC will hold a month-long environmental awareness programme beginning mid-September 2019 focusing on single use plastics. The culmination of this programme is the National Environment Day event on 19 October 2019.

The UK is fully supportive of the ministry’s initiative and is offering expertise from WRAP Global, a UK sustainability charity. WRAP Global has already helped set up a UK Plastic Pact which saw more than 70 businesses sign up and pledge that by 2025 all their plastic packaging will be able to be reused, recycled or recomposted.

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive, WRAP, said:

Plastic pollution is a global problem which requires a truly global solution which transforms for good the way we make, use and dispose of plastic in the future. We are delighted that the Malaysian Government have been inspired by the trailblazing success of The UK Plastics Pact, developed by WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and have committed to working with businesses and organisations to develop their own Pact in Malaysia. Together, we are creating a powerful global platform for change which will help to keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment.

Zeroes waste champions named The Commonwealth Points of Light

At the Blue Planet II screening and exhibition, Khor Sue Yee and Tin Fong Yun were named the Commonwealth Points of Light for their exceptional work as zero waste champions. HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex presented the two co-founders of Zero Waste Malaysia personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Khor Sue Yee and Tin Fong Yun are the founders of ‘Zero Waste Malaysia’, an NGO which is changing the way Malaysians treat waste. As well as teaching people, through workshops and exhibitions, to live more sustainably, Khor Sue Yee and Tin Fong Yun are also focusing on working with businesses to get zero waste policies adopted at an organisational level.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit. By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.

Khor Sue Yee and Tin Fong Yun said:

We are honoured to be named the Commonwealth Points of Light for Malaysia. This is a recognition of the hard work by all Zero Waste Malaysia volunteers and supporters. We hope this will help push forward a stronger zero waste movement in Malaysia.

Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia said:

Khor Sue Yee and Tin Fong Yun are role models in living a zero waste lifestyle. Together with the wider team in Zero Waste Malaysia which they jointly founded, they are an inspiration for those who seek to make positive changes in their personal lifestyle or their business model. Their exemplary work truly reflects the values and principles of The Commonwealth and I am pleased that this has been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen.

Blue Planet II series to be aired on Radio Television Malaysia (RTM)

Following the special screening of Blue Planet II, the landmark natural history series about the world’s oceans, produced by the BBC Studios Natural History Unit and presented by Sir David Attenborough, will be aired over RTM for nationwide viewing. It is hoped that the acclaimed documentary series will help raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation and the perils of plastic pollution.

HRH Prince Edward’s visit to Malaysia

HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is in Malaysia on a two-day visit. The Earl of Wessex started his visit with a meeting with His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara today. The Earl also met YB Syed Saddiq bin Syed Abdul Rahman, the Youth and Sports Minister at the National Sports Council where they watched Malaysian athletes in action ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

As the Chairman of Trustees for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, The Earl will also attend The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Asia Pacific Regional Conference on 11 Sept 2019, participating in a youth roundtable to discuss the value of non-formal education, as well as meet Award Operators from the region. His Royal Highness will preside over a Gold Award presentation ceremony with over 150 Gold Awardees from across Malaysia.

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