Ladies & Gentlemen,
Good morning! I am very happy to see so many participants here today to this important issue in Penang-Eco-town Workshop. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome delegates who are here for the first time.
I understand that the involvement of Penang in the eco-town process started since 2004 and it continues today. Since its inception, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/ International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) have generously been supporting this kind of workshops in various cities in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The current State Government realizes that Penang must strengthen its overall competitiveness with other cities in Malaysia and also globally by going green. This can only be carried out by developing industry clusters that promote dynamic partnerships between the government and the industry and inter-linkages between industries themselves.
We want to introduce international benchmarks to tackle issues on the environment, cleanliness, crime and congestion and to make Penang a location of choice for investors, the destination of choice for tourists and visitors, and the habitat of choice for sustainable living, working and recreation. We have introduced measures like the adoption of the Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) principles and the Wireless PENANG initiative; as well as the promotion and enhancement of education, medical services and heritage conversation.
WE ARE ALSO VERY SERIOUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. To demonstrate our commitment to international environment efforts, we have fully subscribed to the United Nations’ Earth Summit Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janerio, Malaysia signed in 1992; which focuses on the social/human, economic, environment and institutional involvement in attaining sustainable development.
In support of this, the Penang State Government, as a sub-national government in the Federation of Malaysia has also taken several effort. To date Penang has joined as :
A. Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of the Climate Change Networking Committee in Tanzania (Sept/Oct 2009);
B. June 2010, Penang State -commitment to the Principles of the Kyoto Protocol in Seoul, Korea
C. December 2010 Cancun Mexico, at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference which is officially referred to as the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
D. 2011, Korea, signatory to fully subscribed to the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), International Partnership for Local Authorities (IPLA) agenda and principles
E. 2011- Zero Waste GPWM
F. More recently, in 2012 as Director of IETC under UNEP
Penang is also signatory to several international initiatives such as the:
G. Gwangju Initiative at the ISWA World Congress 2011 in Korea
H. The G20 Cannes Summit
I. Gwangju Cities Declaration
J. Commitments By Cities to Kyoto Protocol Principles and
K. Zero Wastes For Green Economy – Role of Local Authorities in Daegu, Korea
Penang’s policy directions is committed towards industrial clustering and a proactive approach to make the city environmentally friendly, provide an excellent opportunity for the project to guide the industrial growth in an environmentally sound manner (using the eco-town concept) and encouraging efficient use of resources, waste minimization and exchanges between industries.
It is because of these efforts, we have attracted international agencies who have come to study our approaches.
JICA is currently conducting a Penang e-waste Project (2012/2013) to seek a possible e-waste collection system by setting up a pilot project in managing e-waste from household. The main aim is to work with DOE to develop an appropriate, effective and efficient e-waste collection system from households. The developed system is expected to use as a model for nationwide collection system expansion. and,In October 2012, the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO) approved a research project in Penang, “Impact of Product related Environmental Regulations on Asian Firms” (2012/2013) in Penang, Malaysia. This is to assess the impacts of product related environmental regulations (PRERs) imposed by importing countries on performances of firms associated with exporting activities, especially small and medium enterprises. This study is particularly relevant in the context of Penang because a significant number of firms are involved in industrial export-oriented activities and also the cluster of firms that support these firms in export. This supporting cluster comprises of a large number of SMEs that would be affected by any regulations that are imposed by the importing countries. From the shared knowledge of the study, we hope to enhance the export capability and competitiveness for our local SMEs.
In 2011, the Ministry of Environment, Japan has also started a pilot project a zero discharge system using pig waste to cultivate algae as well as composting in Pinang Tunggal.
Again for pig waste, a local company, Sustainable Bio-fuel Co. using the Indian system has started a bio-gas project in Kg Valdor in June 2012.
UTAR also started a pilot project in 2012, to investigate the production of spirulina from pig waste. This shows that Penang is very much into environment and we work with any local or foreign organisation to help make our environment better.
We have launched many environmental programmes statewide, such as:
I. The annual EM-Mudball Day to clean the waterway by throwing EM Mudballs throughout all the Districts in Penang. This Annual Event on every 8th August has gained International Recognition themed as “A MILLION APOLOGIES TO MOTHER EARTH”.
M. We have also launched the Cleaner Greener, Healthier and Safer Penang Initiative with efforts such as Tree Planting, Creating Public Park, Annual International Coastal Cleaning, Setting up Environmental Committee. Environmental Resource Centers in the districts, etc.
N. We have also banned the free distribution of plastic bags in supermarkets, departmental stores and shopping complexes, we have also introduced a smoke free Penang with designated areas for smoking, and
O. As of Dec 1; we have imposed a complete ban on the use of polystyrene food containers and packaging.
We started the Green School and Green Citizen Educational Programs for long Term awareness and Save the Enivironment, Global Warming Climate Change Awareness.
P. For awareness of 3Rs, Resources Centres For Environment and Friendly Neighborhoods were set up for educations
Q. In order to deal with food waste at source, Food Waste Recycling Centers to convert food waste as bio-liquid soil enhancer and fertilisers and other programmes are in the pipeline. Food waste machines have been installed in 11 places in Penang such as in schools, factories, restaurants and the Bayan Baru Hawker Centre managed by the Penang Municipal Council where you will visit tomorrow. The food waste machine is manufactured in Penang itself and distributed globally.
R. We are also in the process of collecting data regarding waste and discards from the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors so that we can how we can match industries who generate these discards with those who process and recycle them into resources. “Once man’s trash is another’s treasure!”
We hope that when we develop “green field areas” (new undeveloped areas) we will be mindful of Kawasaki’s example to also incorporate early in the planning stage; green practices so rather than rectify environmental problems that may arise in the future.
We hope that the scope for the Penang Ecotown; will not only cover green town planning and integrated waste management with the objective of achieving sustainable patterns of production and consumption but also expanded to encompass the practice of 3Rs, green planning, green purchasing, efficient use and conservation of natural resources (raw material, energy & water) and air emission controls.
Penang aspires to be Malaysia’s first Green Manufacturing Hub in the region that will proudly showcase infrastructure, facilities, layout and operations that will address issues such as the reduction of emission of green house gases and other pollutants, energy management for sustainable energy consumption and water management for sustainable water consumption and pollution control of water ways. We also wish to boast of facilities management and high performance buildings and factories (towards green building characteristic); the capacity to produce eco-labelled products/ eco-design products.
The Penang State Government resolved the problem of what was once the largest rubber processing plant in Malaysia which caused smell pollution to 10 thousand families in Paya Terubong. This problem affected the residents for 20 years and only after a change of government which was committed to go green, this plant was finally shut down in 2012.
We hope that Penang will become a very important player regionally and internationally with the implementation of the eco-town project to turn it into a Green Manufacturing Hub and in the broader context towards GREEN ECONOMY & GREEN GROWTH.
It is here that Penang can offer many investment opportunities for green industries to those who wish to be involved with us.
Before I end my speech, I once again, I thank the organizers sponsors the UNEP/ IETC and the Global Environment Centre (GEC), the Penang Island Municipal Council, the Seberang Perai Municipal Council and Penang Institute for organizing this important workshop. I understand that UNEP/IETC has chosen Penang as a centre of training ground for neighbouring countries. For this, I wish to once again thank UNEP/IETC for giving us the honour once again.
I can assure you that we are very hands-on and we have the political will to achieve this!
No man is an island and we need to work together caring and sharing towards a better tomorrow for all of mankind. With this I declare this workshop open and wish you all a very fruitful discussion.