From Cameron McLatchie.
WE are now in week two of Islanders being asked to pay 70p for any plastic carrier bag dispensed at a retail outlet.
For certain, this will reduce carrier bag consumption; but what else will this achieve? We may see a little less litter, and we may see fewer images of sea-life that has ingested the odd bag. Both are extremely worthwhile targets, although it is a fact that cigarette and chewing-gum waste is a greater cause of litter, and discarded fishing tackle and nets make up over one-third of the oceans’ plastic waste and no one seems to want to set a minimum price for any of these items.
But what about our carbon footprint, as carrier bags are made from polyethylene, a derivative of oil? Are we not saving the planet by using less oil? It is worth examining the evidence.
Carrier bags are very light. 1,000 disposable bags weigh around 10kg. 5,000 weigh 50kg, roughly the same amount that you put in an average family car – 50 litres of petrol or diesel. So, every time an Islander puts 50 litres of fuel in their vehicle it has an equivalent environmental impact as using 5,000 carrier bags.
On an island with roughly as many vehicles as people, could our elected Members not have come up with something that did a little more to save the planet?
We have been bombarded with literature and TV adverts about the carrier-bag position. Would a few adverts on reducing energy usage not be a bit more pertinent?
We have a patient who is terminally ill and all the focus is on the wart at the end of their nose.
How about some real environmental targets?
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