Opening speech by Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang and Chairman of Penang Green Council during Green Pinang 3A (Achievements, Awards & Accolades) Gala 2014

Opening speech by Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang and Chairman of Penang Green Council during Green Pinang 3A (Achievements, Awards & Accolades) Gala 2014 at Lim Lean Teng Hall on 20 Nov 2014:

First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome for your gracious presence at tonight’s environmental excellence award ceremony, also marking the end of the last chapter in 2014. It is an honour for me to officiate the Green Pinang 3A Gala 2014, where 3A stands for Achievements, Awards & Accolades.

Tonight, Penang State Government is acknowledging all green spirits, who have had outstanding contributions and achievement in environmental conservation. This is also an appreciation night to honour 11 individuals and organisations in Penang that obtained recognition nationally or regionally for their contributions and hard work in the sustainability and environmental excellence, which is a great prestige this evening.

On top of that, we are also presenting awards to the winners of Penang Green School Award, Penang Green Office Project Certification, Penang Green Innovation Incentive, Penang Green Journalism Award and Penang Green Video Contest.

Penang Green School Award is an environmental audit programme for both primary and secondary schools in Penang launched by the Penang State Government in 2010. A significant rise in the audit application numbers from both primary and secondary schools in Penang and Seberang Perai for the award, from 54 schools in 2010 to 138 schools, this year.

Aside from that, we have 10 more offices being certified as Penang Green Office tonight. They have successfully fulfilled the Green Office Project’s criteria in both online-assessment and site-audit by practicing green initiatives in their workplace. Adding to a total of 32 Green Offices in Penang since the Penang Green Office Project was launched in September 2012. Starting next year, PGC will be working with PBA (Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd) to further enhance green office practices in Penang. Aqua Save Certification will be incorporated in Penang Green Office by April 2015. It will be a “double bliss” where applicants could obtain two certifications at once – Penang Green Office and Aqua Save. We hope by doing so, offices in Penang can be both water and energy efficient.

We would like to congratulate winners of Penang Green Journalism Award, Penang Green Video Contest and Penang Green Innovation Incentive. We hope that your contributions in writings, photos, videos and innovations will inspire environmental sustainability solutions that benefit our community in general.

In promoting Zero Waste, Penang has banned free plastic bags in the supermarkets and hypermarkets since 2009, and followed by the ban of polystyrene food containers in all eateries. The solid waste recycling rate has reached 28% and 34% for MPPP and MPSP respectively. We are proud to see that in 2014, Penang achieved a 32% recycling rate which exceeds the country’s targeted 20% rate for 2020.

Although we achieved the highest recycling rate in the country, we should not be complacent. Recently, the Federal Government has announced that mandatory separation at source will be implemented in stages from September next year. The state government is studying the model and practices of the Federal government so that we can make the necessary enactment in the bylaw to make sure waste separation at source will be implemented smoothly throughout the state. In our drafted bylaws, there will be a “2+1” waste collection. The recyclables and food waste will be collected once a week while the non-recyclable trash will be collected twice a week.

For example, if the current daily waste collection of 750 tonnes is reduced to 550 tonnes, we will save RM4mil starting from 2015, we can pay less to the contractor assigned to collect, transport and provide treatment to the waste at Pulau Burong landfill. The lifespan of the landfill will also be lengthened.

I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Penang Green Innovation Incentive review panels, Penang Green Office Project committees and all the judges.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to our working partners, co-organisers and sponsors: both MPPP and MPSP, Continental Automotive Components Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Sunway Grand Sdn Bhd, Eastern & Oriental Berhad, Suiwah Corporation Berhad, Matahari Uniform Centre Sdn Bhd, Popular Book Co. (M) Sdn Bhd, OHL Gallery, Guppy Plastic Industries, Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA), NetPix Sdn Bhd, U.P. Multimedia Production Sdn Bhd, Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

Lastly, congratulations and kudos to all! I commend you for your outstanding accomplishments and commitment to the positive environmental change. You cared. We thank you. As we go forward, I hope to inspire more such ventures to strive as a sustainable and livable city by providing cleaner, greener, healthier and safer living environment for everyone in Penang.

Thank you!

Lim Guan Eng