Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) has recently embarked on its Green Policy, and launched the “Let’s Break Up with Single-Use Plastic” campaign on February 19, 2019, at its Sports Complex, Gambang Campus, to encourage students and faculty members alike to reduce the usage of plastics.
The Policy is the result of an initiative by the UMP Sustainability Committee, which falls under the purview of the Waste Management Cluster, to inculcate greater awareness on the need to reduce and eventually abandon single-use plastics on university ground.
Dubbed 6R, the Policy focuses on six principles – namely, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Re-Think – in the aspect of waste management, which forms part of the university’s healthy living environment initiative.
The campaign was launched by UMP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Sri Dr. Daing Nasir Ibrahim, during his 2019 Annual Mandate event, as a proactive move by the university in response to the Government’s call for Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 – which was unveiled by the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) on October 17 last year.
According to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Professor Dato’ Dr. Mashitah Mohd Yusoff, who also chairs the Campus Sustainability Committee, among the main objectives of the campaign is to encourage the use of recycled materials for straws, grocery bags, and food and drink containers.
“These three categories of plastic items contribute 30 to 40 percent of the total waste generated at the university,” she said.
“Due their non-biodegradable nature, these categories of waste could not be recycled by the appointed vendors, and ultimately, will continue to pollute the environment,” she stressed.
Sustainable waste management should be empowered, in line with the development and operation of the Composite & Recycle Centre on campus.
On that same breadth, this campaign also aims to create an increased awareness of the importance and responsibility of UMP residents to cut down the generation of domestic household solid waste – which will subsequently lessen the waste tonnage sent the disposal site and consequently, will reduce pollution to the environment and green-house effects, both of which have had irreversible negative impacts on the global climate.
In this regard, several programmes have been and will continue to be implemented by the Occupational Safety & Health Management Office (OSHMO) to create a greater awareness of this Green Policy initiative in a sustainable manner.
Among them is “MYTAPAU”, wherein UMP residents are given incentives if they bring along their own containers to pack the take-away food.
In another programme, UMP is collaborating with the Kuantan Community Rehabilitation Centre (PPDK) to recycle printed materials, such as advertisement banners, into reusable grocery bags.
The university’s Sustainable Green Campus and Environmental Management initiatives have borne fruits, where UMP was listed at No. 97 globally and No. 6 domestically, in the recently announced UI Greenmetric World University Ranking 2018.
Such ranking has translated UMP to be the 29th best in Asia and 16th in Southeast Asia. The assessments were based on seven main criteria – Acreage and Infrastructure; Energy and Climate Change; Waste Disposal; Water; Transportation; Education; and Healthy Lifestyle.
By: MOHD MARZUKI MOHAMED, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH MANAGEMENT OFFICE