Survey shows that enhanced enforcement is required to put awareness into practice A recent survey found that environmental consciousness is rather strong in Penang, with 79% of respondents being extremely concerned about environmental issues in Penang.
However, their level of concern does not trigger behavioural changes (for this study, behavioural change refers to bringing their own shopping bags instead of paying for plastic bags).
The survey also revealed that 67% of respondents recognised the importance of plastic bag usage reduction in order to reduce waste in Penang.
The Penang Green Council (PGC) conducted the survey on The Public Perception For The State Policy Implementation Of Every Day In Penang between November 13 and December 22, 2017.
It was carried out to provide a better understanding of public opinion to policymakers and to help set the pace of developing future state policy.
The questionnaire survey was conducted online and offline and involved a total of 2,582 consumers from shopping malls, wet markets, and roadshows on Penang island and the mainland.
Penangites gradually become aware of the â Every Dayâ state policy ever since the state government launched the campaign in 2009; yet, only 27% of respondents are fully aware that the collection of 20 sen for each plastic bag is channelled to the Stateâs AES (Agenda Ekonomi Saksama) programme in eradicating poverty, according to the survey.
Statistics show that awareness does not always translate into a shift in consumer behaviour.
The survey found that 65% brought their own shopping bags, while 25% chose to buy plastic bags; from this number, 413 respondents admitted being forgetful, whereas 181 respondents said plastic bags are the best carrier for a variety of goods, especially groceries and fresh produce.
The data collected showed differences among Penangites in their views toward the state policy.
Other findings from the report include: 85% of female respondents used their own shopping bags compared to 49.4% of male respondents.
Referring to the professions of the respondents, 98.4% of respondents from the âretiredâ category brought their own shopping bags.
The majority of individuals with no income or are unemployed (98.7%) bring their own shopping bags compared to other income groups.
Environmental concern and awareness are not the ultimate reasons why some respondents use their own shopping bags.
Respondents who expressed lower levels of concern for the environment in addition to bringing their own shopping bags include the following categories: self-employed, housewives, students, unemployed, retirees, those with higher income (RM7,501 and above) and individuals without income.
âThe plastic bag has been a wonderful product, but its ubiquitousness has a high price as we pay millions to clean up our streets, rivers, and oceans.
Thus, Penang was the first state in Malaysia to initiate the ââ campaign in July 2009.
The state government has had the policy for retailers for several years.
In 2017, a Guideline on ââ was then formulated.
ââ is part of a culture change, a paradigm shift; with stringent measures, policies, and care for the city we live in.
It is how Penang becomes a âCleaner, Greener, Safer, Healthier, and Happierâ State,â said Phee Boon Poh, Penang State Exco Member for the Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee cum PGC Vice-Chairman.
The findings from this survey serve as guidance and a reference for monitoring the progress of the state policy.
The report is available at www.pgc.com.my/plasticbagsurvey for more details and insights.
Penang in Numbers â Green Data On top of that, Penang is the first State to compile a series of environmental indicators based on eight goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Phee explained, âThrough PGC, we have published Penang in Numbers â Green Data, one of the evidence-based approaches in developing the Penang Green Agenda (PGA).
Green Data tabulates various sustainability-led data available in Penang at present in regard to the UN SDGs.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals, each with a separate list of targets and indicators.
They are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that everyone enjoys prosperity.â Green Data highlights Penangâs current situation with indicators based on the following goals: This study aims to formulate state-level indicators based on the SDG indicators, by becoming a reference point for all key stakeholders and to strengthen the foundation of PGA.
Green Data consists of 57 different indicators consolidated and categorised into their respective SDGs.
Data and information are equally contributed by related governmental departments.
The collection of data for Penang is ongoing, as this data will be updated annually to enable the public to keep track of Penangâs progress in terms of environmental data.
It should also help stakeholders measure Penangâs sustainability.
Download Green Data from the PGC website for more information: www.pgc.com.my/pga/penang-in-numbers-green-data.