Memories remain… plastic bags too

A plastic bag was thrown!? This was in 1999 on the tree opposite to my family’s balcony back home. My life has been evolving, the tree has been growing, and people shadows have been passing and passing over that place. Only that plastic bag remained.

Plastic is not biodegradable, it may take up 600 years for full decomposition, that’s why they are increasingly occupying our space, water, land and surroundings.

There is more than 150,000 ton of plastic waste being recycled in UAE every year, not sure about the entire quantity that being used and left astray everywhere. The government has highlighted this concern in its strategy and started two recent major initiatives aiming at reducing the negative environmental impacts of plastic bags waste. The first one was a three-year campaign launched by the Ministry of Environment and Water. The second was by Ajman government with a vision of replacing plastic bags by fabric ones, and to observe plastic production.

War on plastic bags shall start from hyper markets; I am usually given 2-3 bags for a purchase of AED 15 (US$ 4). I feel proud of carrying these flourishing bags in my hands, yet I start to feel anxious. Few months ago, a major retailer in UAE has introduced environment-friendly bags for AED 1 each, and in order to reduce the financial burden on consumers, checkout clerks tend to put too many goods in one bag, thus ending the shopping experience from holding too many free “flourish” bags to few paid ones. Customers went unsatisfied and pressured the movement back.

Having presented that example, we have to imagine the huge efforts required to convert consuming habits. I am proposing a mechanism to sustain awareness and gradual transformation of shopping “rituals” in that regard. Retailers will charge a little amount of money on providing plastic bags. This would help reducing the quantity used, and generate extra income that will be divided between the shop and the government. The later will use the fund to expand awareness campaign and highlight participants’ names as partners in scheme.

It is hard to see one-use-off plastic bags sharing our space forever. Memories remain… plastic bags too.

1 comment:

  1. The Centre of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi has finalised a draft resolution for banning use of plastic bags at shopping centers in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.