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Malaysian plastic pollution short film under UN spotlight


Plastic pollution is a problem in Malaysia. A 2019 study commissioned by WWF found that Malaysia has the highest annual plastic use per capita, at 16.78 kg per person, compared to China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. As such, increasing efforts have been made to raise awareness of the harmful effects of single-use plastic.

The MeshMinds Foundation, a non-profit arts organization that aims to empower artists in APAC to focus on pressing social, environmental and educational challenges, recently unveiled a video called “Plastik”, which aims to encourage people to live sustainably and reduce plastic pollution.

“Plastik” was directed and produced by Malaysian filmmakers Philip Rom of Reservoir Productions and Sean Lin of Studio Birthplace respectively for World Environment Day 2022. The video was developed in collaboration with SEA Circular Project, an initiative of the Program United Nations Environment Program, and inspired by an online campaign by MeshMinds and the project.

The video shows a young girl looking at the world through a plastic bottle letting her imagination melt into reality to see how humans’ relationship with single-use plastic can turn into something more sinister if not not controlled.

Every time she looks through the plastic bottle, the food people and animals around her consume, as well as the surrounding environment like sand and beach, turn into plastic waste. As the video draws to a close, the campaign messages ‘Say no to single-use plastic’ and ‘Together we can beat plastic pollution’ are introduced, as the young girl is seen drinking from a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottle.

Studio Birthplace said in a press release that “Plastik” gives audiences a glimpse into a terrifying plastic-polluted future seen through the eyes of a child. With a visual narrative that is both “heartbreaking and warming at the same time”, the production agency hopes to champion the urgent need to fight plastic pollution by reducing single-use plastic, and remind that there is only a single Earth. Additionally, Studio Birthplace seeks to touch the hearts of the public with the ballad-like soundtrack, titled “Just A Dream,” which was composed by Malaysian artist MKNK.

“Plastik” is backed by the United Nations Environment Program as it amplifies UNEA 5.2 resolution when 175 member states unanimously agreed to develop a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution by end of 2024. The film was produced in Sepang in accordance with Studio Birthplace. sustainability practices, where filmmakers sought to minimize their production impact on the environment by limiting single-use plastics on set. Carbon emissions from transportation during filming were also calculated and offset 150% by planting trees.

(Also read: Opinion: 5 ways to decarbonize your advertising production)

“’Plastik’ highlights our indifference to the issue. Through the eyes of Aisya Sufiah, the very talented 10-year-old actress, we see her representing a young generation waking up and seeing this indifference and mess, and we see her journey from ignorance to awareness and driving change,” said Lin of Birthplace Studio.

“To survive and evolve, humanity has had to learn by imitating the actions of other humans. We learn by watching and then doing. Films have the power to effect social change through impactful and compelling storytelling. We hope that by producing a short film with an all-Southeast Asian cast and crew, we can deepen engagement and catalyze lasting behavioral change among the region’s youth audiences to take individual and collective action to end plastic pollution,” added Kay Vasey, Founder of MeshMinds and Executive Producer of “Plastik.”

Meanwhile, Isabelle Louis, Deputy Regional Director of UNEP’s Asia-Pacific office, said: “‘Plastik’ is being released at an opportune time, as it becomes increasingly important to reach consumers and decision makers with a message that we can all understand. in our everyday life. I hope the film can be distributed in schools and allow children to be inspired by local sustainability advocates tackling the problem of plastic pollution.

The production company joins other brands such as Booking.com in advocating for greater sustainability and environmental protection. Booking.com launched an art x food pop-up experience in Singapore to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, which aimed to bring sustainability and environmental awareness to the forefront as many begin to travel the world again. As part of the campaign, the brand partnered with artists Mama Magnet and Human Spectrum and plant-based resto-bar Analogue Initiative to create an art installation and an exclusive menu, respectively. According to Booking.com previously, the installation challenged visitors to be more aware of the footprint they leave behind and aimed to show visitors that they have a role to play in improving the environment. ‘environment.

Meanwhile, Body Shop Malaysia has also launched a shop concept called “The Body Shop Activist Makers” which encourages shoppers to explore different sustainable products and find out how they can play their part in protecting the Earth. According to The Body Shop, this is its most sustainable store to date. The store offers recycled lighting and furniture, a charging station, as well as products made from its recycled plastic packaging. In addition, it has been fitted with sustainable light fixtures made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastics.

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