First published 9 Oct 2013, last updated 14 Jan 2014
It is time for the Singapore Government to introduce a plastic bag tax to discourage the indiscriminate use of plastic bags. Just because it is free, you often see people asking the cashiers for more rather than fewer plastic bags. Go to all the supermarkets, I am often dismayed to see a full trolley of plastic bags. You definitely don’t need more than 50 bags for one to two weeks usage to dispose of your rubbish. I have been practising no wasteful plastic bags for at least 3 years now and I can assure you that I have managed to cut down the usage for my household by a factor of 10 at least. IKEA in Singapore has done away with giving out free plastic bags completely and successfully without affecting their sales for almost a year now, over to you NEA!
Related links: Wastage is a way of life in Singapore
The true price of disposable plastic bags
I read with dismay the letter, “Find biodegradable alternatives, but we still need disposable bags” (Oct 7).
Large swathes of our planet are blanketed in plastic, non-degradable rubbish, much of it in the form of plastic bags. The oceans are slowly clogging up with the stuff. In parts of the Pacific Ocean, plastic particles outnumber plankton by 6:1. The damage to marine life is well documented, while ingestion of plastic bags kills an estimated one in two camels in the United Arab Emirates and roughly 100 cattle a day in Uttar Pradesh, India.
There is no need to use plastic bags. I have done without them since 2001. Is it that difficult to remember to carry a bag? People remember to take their keys and wallets when they go shopping.
In Wales, a 10-cent levy on plastic bags reduced their use at supermarkets by up to 96 per cent, and the money went to charity. A growing number of countries have banned them for environmental reasons.
The letter writer thinks that “we should not discourage their usage in the name of the environment while causing inconvenience to ourselves”.
Perhaps those who allowed their plastic bags to find a way into the ocean, resulting in the death last year of a young sperm whale in the Aegean Sea with 100 plastic bags in its stomach, also felt that it was too inconvenient to not use plastic bags.