Bubble tea vendors must seek ways to eliminate the usage of single-use plastic cups and straws that significantly contribute to the issue of plastic waste in Selangor.--Photo taken from Google image

SHAH ALAM: Bubble tea vendors must seek ways to eliminate the usage of single-use plastic cups and straws that significantly contribute to the issue of plastic waste in Selangor.

Selangor Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the mushrooming number of bubble tea shops, particularly in Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya and Kajang remains a problem to the state’s “No Straw” and zero single-use plastic campaigns.

“Bubble tea drinks are well-received among the public, but these shops produce plenty of plastic waste that is troublesome to local councils (and is harmful to the environment).

“We do not have plans to stop their (bubble tea vendors) businesses at the moment. But we will be having a dialogue session with these businesses in the near future to get them to change their concept and seek alternatives to single-use plastic.

“Bubble tea businesses, apart from looking to make profits, should seek ways to help the (state) government reduce its plastic waste,” Hee, who is also Kajang assemblyman, told the state assembly here today.

Says.com had on June 17 reported that with an increasing number of bubble tea shops in SS15, Subang Jaya (renowned as “Bubble Tea Street”), mountains of plastic cups are left in trash bins in the area.

The “No Straw” and zero single-use plastic campaigns are in line with Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-use Plastics 2018-2030 and is aimed at tackling pollution due to single-use plastic products, to create a healthier environment.

Hee asserts that the state government is committed to reducing its plastic waste and has been strictly enforcing a ban on single-use plastics at all departments and agencies under the state's administration from July 1.

He said RM456,000 had been channelled to 12 local councils statewide to conduct various environmental and plastic-free campaigns to raise awareness among the public.

Among the programmes are ‘Karnival Jelajah Kepenggunaan’, ‘Program Bazar Ramadan Mampan’, Beach Cleanup Day, World Environmental Day, river clean-up, 3R Programme and used cooking oil collection.

Besides that, Hee said the state government is working with schools and non-governmental organisations to carry out environmental awareness programmes and “No Straw” campaigns with an allocation of RM20,000.

Asked if restaurants that still provide straws will be compounded, Hee said the state government is currently focusing on educating and creating awareness but will issue fines in the future.