While the rest of the world is moving towards bans on the free distribution of plastic bags, supermarkets in Malaysia are still happily dishing out such bags, which are an environmental nightmare.
Why are we so gung-ho about plastic bags and what is preventing the authorities from asking supermarkets to stop freely giving out plastic bags and instead encouraging customers to use reuseable cloth or jute bags? Is it a case of apathy or is the ‘plastics lobby’ in Malaysia so strong?
Our landfills, rivers, streams and drains are clogged with plastic bags of all sorts. Then, there are all those “mineral” water bottles.
Even at the local corner shop or hawker stalls, we can say no to plastic bags and bring our own reuseable bags or containers instead.
But be careful of certain reuseable bags that are not exactly environmentally friendly.
This article from National Geographic News:
Plastic-Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World
for National Geographic News
April 4, 2008
From Australia to the U.K., and all across the U.S., politicians and corporations are pondering banning or taxing plastic bags.
A hefty surcharge that began in 2003 in Ireland has spurred the public there to spurn plastic bags almost completely in favor of reusable cloth totes.
Plastic sacks are also taxed in Italy and Belgium. Grocery shoppers must pay for the bags in Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. Spain, Norway, and now the U.K. are considering a ban or tax as well.
The political action in the U.K. on single-use plastic bags follows similar gestures earlier this year in Australia.
There a national ban or tax is being hotly debated, though the state of South Australia, which includes the city of Adelaide, has promised a ban on free single-use bags by year’s end no matter what.
The state’s premier, Mike Rann, listed familiar reasons for the ban: The bags contribute to greenhouse gases, clog up landfills, litter streets and streams, and kill wildlife.
Unsightly pollution appears to be behind China’s January announcement of a countrywide ban on the thinnest totes and a tax on others. It begins June 1, two months before the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Taiwan taxes the bags, and the cities of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Mumbai, India, ban them to prevent flood-inducing storm-drain clogs during monsoon season.
Once jokingly called the “national flower,” thin plastic bags have been banned in South Africa since 2003; thicker ones are taxed. Similar measures exist in Eritrea, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.
In the U.S., the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California, ban the bags and promote reusable and compostable sacks. Elsewhere in the state supermarkets are required to take back and recycle the bags.
Full article here.