Call for public to reduce, reuse and recycle

National 3 minutes, 7 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Minister of Development has called for public support to protect the environment by observing the 3Rs concept of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said the ministry was trying to get the public's support for the 3Rs concept, through various activities at the Customer Day.

"This is one of the ways where the public can contribute (to the environment). To make all of us aware that this is our planet , it is not morally fair for us to throw away rubbish, and for someone else to collect," he told The Brunei Times before the closing ceremony of the ministry's Customer Day yesterday.

He said that the ministry aims to introduce the biodegradable method of disposing waste.

" When plastic was created, it was a wonderful thing, but we forget that plastic is hard to remove from the environment. Plastics do not decompose," he explained.

Themed "Clean, Green and Beautiful Brunei Darussalam", the Customer Day saw a side activity of a cleaning campaign at Tungku beach.

"Much of the rubbish collected was plastics in the form of plastic bottles, bags and wrappers," the minister said.

Sharing the minister's sentiment was Permanent Secretary (Administration and Finance) at the Ministry of Development Hj Md Rozan DP Hj Md Yunus, who said the public response was beyond their expectations.

"Yesterday we scheduled six schools to come, but 23 schools turned up, which is completely beyond our expectations," Hj Md Rozan said.

He added: "We tried to keep the public focus on the environment. Even though the celebrations look more like a carnival, but it centres on the environment."

Commenting on the participating recycling companies, Hj Md Rozan said, "Nobody cares much about rubbish. We are trying to tell the public that there are companies in Brunei that handle recycling."

Efforts on the ministry's first "No Plastic Day" could be seen in the stalls around the ministry.

"Even though the stall vendors sell food and drinks in plastics, we ask them to buy and use oxo-biodegradable plastics," said Hj Md Rozan.

"Public reactions on the first No Plastic Day were mixed, a lot of people support us, but there are also many who are surprised," he added.

He said that based on what he gathered from discussions with supermarkets, the ministry knows the reasons some customers find the move to reusable bags difficult.

"We are not forcing them not to use plastic bags, but opt for reusable bags or card boxes which are reusable and recyclable," he added.

The ministry is also looking at the possibility of continuing the effort with other supermarkets in stages. "We do not want to shock the public," said Hj Md Rozan.

The ministry's week long Customer Day came to a conclusion last night.

Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah was present to hand over donation to three charities; the Handicapped Children Association (Kaca), Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam and Smarter, who each received over $1,000. The donation was collected through various activities by the ministry. Money was also raised for the orphans fund which will be donated during the upcoming fasting month.

Among the activities last night was a short play entitled Kurangkan, Guna Semula, Kitar Semula (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and Penyu oh penyu (Turtle oh turtle) to highlight the need to reduce the production of waste which is threatening sea turtles.

The audience were also entertained with traditional dances and songs, as well as a lucky draw.

Participants of the event were also given certificates of appreciation.

The Brunei Times