Speech during World Enviroment Day Celebration 2013

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang and Penang Green Council Chairman, Lim Guan Eng during World Environment Day Celebration 2013 on 16 June 2013:

Thank you for joining us this morning for the World Environment Day Celebration during the Car Free Day of George Town. I would like to wish Selamat Datang or Welcome to all of you.

During 6 June, the actual date of World Environment Day, the Penang State government has announced that we will take the lead by implementing Green Public Procurement (GPP) by requiring all government purchases be given priority to green products, such as name cards printed on recycled materials using soy-ink (non-toxic). This suggests that the government to look into life-cycle costing and apply pressure on suppliers to bring more environmentally friendly products to the market place through a combination of legislation and changes in tendering policy.

According to UNEP, Government purchasing can account for up to 30% of gross domestic product. GPP harnesses the government’s immense buying power in favor of sustainable development goals, it will be a major factor in social and economic progress, innovation and environmental protection.

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebration is Think.Eat.Save. This is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your FOODprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaysians are either overeating or wasting food, throwing away up to 930 tonnes of unconsumed food daily. This is equivalent to throwing away 93,000 10kg bags of rice each day.

Wastage of unconsumed food in Malaysia doubled over the past three years. This does not include leftover food. Unconsumed waste mostly consisted of expired bread, eggs and old or rotten fruit.

Peninsular Malaysia alone generated an estimated 25,000 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste daily of which 48% were food waste. Some 355,000kg of food was thrown away daily in Penang last year. According to the Penang Municipal Council, on the island alone last year, food waste made up about 45% of the 288,377 tonnes of solid waste collected from domestic and commercial areas.

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 16,000 litres of water goes into a cow’s food to make a burger. This resulting greenhouse gas emission from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food. This year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empowers you to make informed decisions.

Today, Penang Green Citizens Cardholder can also get a limited edition WED T-shirt at member price RM20 (non-member RM25), we will be distributing special bookmarks to advocate “Think.Eat.Save”.

Let us work towards Penang as the first green state in Malaysia. We are proud of our recycling rate of 24%, the highest in Malaysia, the first and only state to ban free plastic bags and polystyrene food containers as well as build more green parks and bicycle lanes.

I would like to congratulate the organising committee and everyone from Penang Green Council, co-organiser MPPP for organizing this event on Car Free Day. We hope you enjoy our program, thank you!