Friday, 18 April 2008

Plastic bags safe for the moment

I've been hoarding them like nobody's business. They are so useful for lining bins, carrying things, and occasionally taking swimming with me so that I can shove them down the mouths of unsuspecting dolphins.

Thankfully, it is going to take a little longer before I have to pay for them.

Quite a good letter in the April 19 SMH about them:

Plastic bag ban carries real dangers to choice

Date: April 19 2008

The failure of the nation's environment ministers to reach a decision on banning or taxing plastic bags represents a rare victory for common sense.

We are supposed to be living in a free society. People's individual choice should only be overridden when there is a compelling public benefit.

The arguments for banning bags are as flimsy as the bags themselves.

According to a 2006 Productivity Commission report, plastic bags comprise only a tiny portion of litter (less than 2 per cent) and of landfill (again less than 2 per cent). Claims that plastic bags in the waterways kill large numbers of wildlife have been debunked. Green groups and other supporters of the ban have been repeatedly challenged to provide hard evidence for their claims of widespread damage to wildlife, and have failed to do so. All we get are anecdotes, emotive photos and invented numbers.

The public has been subjected to extensive "education campaigns" from governments, environmental groups and retailers. None of this has led to huge reductions in bag use. The reason, I believe, is quite simple. Most people do care about the environment. They have heard the campaigns and looked at their own behaviour. They have simply reached the conclusion that there is little wrong in their use of plastic bags. They derive significant benefit from them, often use them for multiple purposes and dispose of them responsibly.

People, by their behaviour, have made their choices clear. Environmental campaigners have no right to impose their own tastes and values on others.

As for governments, if they act, they will be in effect saying to you and me: "Sorry, but you got it wrong. You are either too stupid or immoral to have made the correct decision for yourselves. We are going to take from you the right to make your own choice."

Chris Maddigan, St Ives

5 comments:

Lucy C said...

We have soooo many plastic bags we have had to build an extesion to staore them.
Glad the work was not in vain.

Timothy Wonil Lee said...

"occasionally taking swimming with me so that I can shove them down the mouths of unsuspecting dolphins."

Man, Gordo... did you have to put it like that?

peter kirsop said...

why did Gordon have to say
"occasionally taking swimming with me so that I can shove them down the mouths of unsuspecting dolphins."
because he is at least honest. That is what he is like.

Gordon Cheng said...

The trouble is, mr kirsop and timothy, that those pesky dolphins see me coming!

David McKay said...

I had to pay 10 cents for a bag at Borders this week.