Green Initiatives: Solution or Manipulation

Normah binti Said writes

Have you ever experienced these scenarios: grocery shopping on Saturday and be charged 20 cents for a plastic bag? Walking along the street or in the mall and find bins with signs — paper, glass, aluminium and plastic? A quote at the end of an email which says: ‘Do not print this e-mail if it is not necessary, love the environment and save the world’? Driving around the neighbourhood and see some houses with solar panels on their roofs?

Nowadays, people are becoming more conscious about impacts of their actions towards the environment. All the aforementioned are green initiatives introduced, implemented and enforced recently. The idea of ​​green initiatives is to reduce greenhouse effects on the environment due to the increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen monoxide and methane into the atmosphere which causes the earth to become warmer by the trapped heat. Due to the increase of public awareness, the demands for green products have increase and thus, promote the growth of investments in green technology and green products. However, local producers of green products in Malaysia are limited. This will give the opportunity for foreign investors to obtain market for such products in the country. Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia (WECAM) has issued a statement urging the government to be mindful of foreign investors participating in green technology projects in the country as some of them have ulterior motives and are more interested in profits than the transfer of new technologies to society. Marketing products as green products have become a smart marketing gimmick to attract buyers who are now more concerned about the preservation of the environment. Malaysia should strive to develop its own expertise and capabilities in the areas of green technology and streamline the user’s knowledge of green initiatives through programs related to awareness and education.

A review by Fazli Mohamad Sabri et. al. on the level of environmental concern and practice green consumerism among consumers in Petaling Jaya, Selangor found the users agree with the long-term benefit derived from green products however the market price for the products must be reduced accordingly to accommodate buying power of the public. If the understanding of the importance of green initiatives is still lacking then we will not be able to get the response and support from the public. Therefore, green technologies cannot be expanded and developed due to a lack of consumer demand and this will cause the technology to be expensive and inefficient. However, participation or contribution to preserve our natural resources and environment through small initiatives such as waste recycling, energy and water conservation measures, reduction of paper use and various other ways that do not involve high costs are necessary in the daily practice of each individual. These efforts can contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse effect indirectly. We are the ones who determine whether a green initiative is a solution for preserving our environment or the user’s manipulation by a handful of producers who take advantage of our concern.

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