The Sunday Star
by Roger Tan
Call to action: Raelyn Rachele Chwee (left) and Christina Kow of the Waste Management Association of Malaysia passing on the message to passers-by.
We need to reduce or curb the use of single-use plastic masks in order to save our environment and planet.
ANSWERING the earlier calls from the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) to turn to Cuti-Cuti Malaysia to help the local domestic tourism industry, my family and I decided to spend a weekend at Redang Island recently.
Interestingly, I was not alone at all in answering to this call during these febrile times. The island’s long beach was crowded with holidaymakers. We had a great stay at the Laguna Redang Island Resort. The hotel staff there were ever so helpful and courteous. They were in high spirits.
But sadly, the lives of their counterparts in the Klang Valley especially in those hotels which have remained closed since movement control order in March have been one of despondency. Some of them have to turn to part-time jobs like riders for Grab Food and Foodpanda to make ends meet.
This Covid-19 pandemic has indeed exacted an untold misery on the human race as well as the environment. But as I undertook snorkelling and enjoyed the rich underwater marine life in Redang, I felt as if God was telling us to be still for a moment and let the marine life heal and rewild itself during this period.
Then it dawned upon me how acts of men could still harm them and the environment if our oceans are still clogged with more plastic waste, posing a huge threat to the marine ecosystems. Plastic pollution will exacerbate when non-biodegradable face masks made of polypropylene (PP) and gloves made of synthetic polymers such as vinyl find their way into our rivers and oceans.
Already conservationists have found masks floating like jellyfish in the oceans and latex gloves strewn around seabeds.