Sack the Plastic Bag

A proposal by Governor Pastika to compel retailers to give up plastic bags for paper carriers is sound, wise and will only benefit Bali’s increasingly defiled environment.

It is of advantage to no one for tourists to report – as they frequently do – seeing rubbish, much of it contained in plastic shopping bags, piled up along the roadsides and at areas of otherwise great natural beauty.

Other countries have taken stern measures to deal with the problem. Ireland was the first in the world to impose a penalty on shoppers who insist their purchases be placed in plastic bags. Its so-called “plastax,” it is estimated, has reduced usage of plastic carrier bags by up to 95 percent. Many other nations either have or are planning to follow suit.

Piles of plastic are not only an eyesore in an otherwise pristine setting as Bali, but the polymer takes many decades to degrade and is a severe hazard to wildlife, including that of the ocean, when it is washed downriver and into the sea.

Introduced in the 1970s era of plastic, the cheap-to-produce totes quickly became indispensable. Now, in the era of the environment, they have become dangerous and extraneous.

The Bali Times has long had an outlook of sustainable development and care for the environment, and as such suggests to its staff that on trips either to the corner shop or supermarket, they should take their own bag. A rucksack will suffice for large expeditions. Failing that, or a simple sports bag, many stores in Bali offer shoppers the choice of a paid-for cloth bag that is reusable. 

So let us all make an effort to get plastic bags out of our shops, and away from our environment. It is the intelligent, modern thing to do.

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