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Local environmental group calls for plastic bag charge, S’poreans go ballistic

The things we come up with to defend what is precious to us.

Jeanette Tan | September 21, 2016 @ 10:30 pm

As it turns out, supermarketing Singaporeans really love and treasure their plastic bags.

How do we know this?

Channel NewsAsia article on a local environmental group calling for major supermarkets and retailers to start charging customers for plastic bags, of course.

The gist: the group, Zero Waste SG, is asking the government to impose a charge for plastic bags — 10 cents for larger ones and 5 cents for smaller ones. They’re talking to the National Environment Agency and propose to start with supermarkets and major retailers, followed by smaller ones, hawkers and SMEs.

This charge would apply to all except for bags used to contain food without packaging, frozen/chilled food and prescription medication, they added.

 

Here’s how people responded to this proposal:

1. Call for a ban on other things, because a charge somehow means a ban:

Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook

 

2. Argue on scale — what’s the point of using fewer plastic bags, right? What difference would it make?

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Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook

3. Blame the media for calling attention to this:

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Screenshot from Facebook

4. Accuse the corporations of trying to make extra profits from charging for plastic bags:

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Screenshot from Facebook

 

5. Cook up stories about the environmental impact of using or not using plastic bags:

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Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook

While some combine all the above approaches:

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Screenshot from Facebook

Thankfully, though, comments like the ones above were countered by others:

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Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook

 

Some even volunteered concrete suggestions on how to survive with fewer plastic bags:

Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook
Screenshot from Facebook

Now, what have we learned from this entire affair?

Simply that when it things that are precious to us (and also free) come under threat or might potentially be taken away, many of us will fight tooth and nail to defend them.

Even… the right to take as many free plastic bags from the supermarket as we want.

 

Top photo from Flickr user velkr0

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About Jeanette Tan

Jeanette takes pride in her ability to sing the complete lyrics to Hakuna Matata and a host of other Disney songs. She holds out hope to someday be talent-spotted to do voice-overs for documentaries, lifts and automated telephone answering systems.

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