Saturday, November 16

Society calls on hotels to eliminate single-use plastic materials


Iqbal Abdollah

MIRI: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has called on hotels to eliminate single-use plastic such as bottled water and straws.

In a press statement yesterday, MNS Miri chairman Iqbal Abdollah said this is one way to cut down on plastic pollution in the ocean.

“The hotel industry buys and distributes huge numbers of single-use plastic water bottles for the convenience of their customers either during their stays or meetings.

“However, seeing how the single-use plastic water bottles have impacted our oceans, I strongly believe that more sustainable methods could be used and which could also save costs and, probably, bring more profit to the hotels,” he said.

He pointed out that Miri, which is being promoted as a resort city, is known for its long coastline.

“However, the trash that washes ashore on beaches here is giving tourists and the community the wrong impression,” he said.

He stressed the community needs to have sustainability in mind and make the effort to reduce rubbish in the oceans.

“To be honest, it is never-ending work, seeing more trash is being washed up and pulled in. The main issue is that we have yet gotten to the root of this problem. It would be good if we incorporate the effort from private entities such as hotels and resorts,” he said.

He stressed that single-use plastic bottles take up to 450 years to decompose, while plastic straws require up to 200 years or longer.

“To make things worse, plastic breaking up into smaller pieces and becoming micro-plastics will enter our food chain, which will eventually end up in our bodies,” he said.

In March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) found more than 90 per cent of the world’s most popular bottled water brands contained traces of plastic.

“What is more worrying is that, according to World Economic Forum (WEF), there will be more plastic than fish in our ocean by 2050 judging from the current rate of plastic pollution worldwide.

“Perhaps it is time local hoteliers adapt initiatives by international hotels by offering their guests glass refillable water bottles, filtered water stations and dispensers, reusable bottles, and straws made out of recycled aluminium,” he added.