KUCHING (Sept 13): Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has called upon all in Sarawak to properly dispose of the used personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the possibility of Covid-19 reinfections.
The Chief Minister said if the used PPE were not properly disposed of, it would lead to major environmental impact and eventually potential virus reinfections.
“Wind or rain water may deposit the used PPE into our streams or rivers and thus, also polluting the rivers with the deadly virus that could possibly reinfect us.
“Therefore, I would urge members of our public to be careful of the third wave of the Covid-19 and be reminded of the danger of indiscriminate disposal of the PPE,” he said at the 9th Chief Minister’s Environmental Award (CMEA) 2019/2020 presentation ceremony aired via Facebook Live today.
Abang Johari cited the Asian Development Bank, 2020 as saying that cities like Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Bangkok had experienced increases in medical waste, producing 154 million tonnes to 280 million tonnes more per day than before the pandemic.
“Estimation is that at 80 per cent face masks acceptance rate and 27 per cent urban populations suggested that Malaysia may produce 7.05 million total daily used face masks for its 32.4 million population, whilst Sarawak may produce 628,000 daily used face mask for its 2.91 million population,” he said.
On a brighter note, he said the pandemic situation had improved the air quality and reduced GHG (greenhouse gas) emission in different cities around the world last year, including the lessening of water pollution.
“There are also negative consequences of Covid-19 towards the environment. For health and sanitary purposes, the increase use of PPE such as face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitiser and disinfectants have become a major threat to public health and the environment.”
On the CMEA, Abang Johari said it served as an important avenue for the industries, businesses, local authorities and the individuals to demonstrate their corporate environmental responsibility through their organisational green initiatives in reducing carbon footprints in their production processes and operations.
He said the exemplary effort of the award winners should show the way forward as to the future direction of the State in “going green” to protect the environment and creating an ecosystem conducive for sustainable development.
“The business and industrial sectors are the principal sources of investment and driver of economic growth in the State and this award presents an opportunity for public recognition in environmental conservation and leadership.
“Entrepreneurs and the corporate sector should regard this biennial CMEA as the beginning of their long journey towards self-regulation in environmental compliance and management,” he added.
Abang Johari pointed out that CMEA winners received the State’s recognition for having contributed towards or shown commitment to environmental stewardship.
“Regardless of the Award that you receive, what matters is that each of you have contributed based on your unique capability and capacity and together moving towards a sustainable future for our State and our only one Earth.”
He was also pleased to note that the number of entries had increased compared to previous years.
-- Source: Borneo Post