Non-governmental organisation The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has today urged the Malaysian government to cut down on plastic packaging. A WWF report on Asia’s worst ocean polluters found Malaysians to be the biggest individual consumers of plastic packaging.

The report focused on household consumption of plastic packaging in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It found that 27 million tonnes of plastic were consumed all together by the countries in 2016, contributing 60% of the eight million tonnes of plastic found in the ocean yearly. Malaysia was ranked highest of these countries at 16.8kg per person. Thailand was ranked second at 15.5kg.

WWF coordinator of work on a plastic circular economy Thomas Schuldt told Reuters: “There is lots of food delivery, which is plastic packaging-heavy, but in addition, there are also a lot of day-to-day products bought in supermarkets.”

The report also found that the volume of plastic waste in the ocean will quadruple from 2010 levels by 2050. Schuldt urged Asian governments and particularly Malaysia to regulate the usage of single-use plastics and to work with businesses in order to use less plastic in the packaging industry. Schuldt added that awareness campaigns in Malaysia could help improve recycling rates.

The Malaysian government launched the Malaysia Plastics Pact last year in order to begin a discussion amongst stakeholders about issues of plastic waste, taking inspiration from organisations like the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) charity in the UK. Schuldt said that the findings of this are likely to be released in March.

Packaging Gateway has approached WWF for comment.

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