Thu, Mar 21, 2002 - Page 8 News List


Plastic-bag ban a key move

I write to comment on the government's intention to ban the use of free plastic bags in supermarkets and the use of plastic cutlery and crockery in public places.

Opponents of the move have speculated that an increase in the use of water for dishwashing by restaurants could lead to a water shortage, or at least exacerbate future water shortages. They have also argued that the inevitable decrease in the use of plastic will harm the plastic-manufacturing and recycling industries, causing widespread job losses.

Pollution is not just a terrible sight. It destroys our only natural resource -- our environment. If we damage our environment, we also damage all of the natural resources therein. Industries use much more water than restaurants in the washing-up process. Far more water is used to manufacture a plastic container than would be used to wash that container. The law doesn't ban disposable paper cutlery and crockery, so the plastic indus-try's loss will be the paper industry's gain.

Plastic accounts for 20 percent of Taiwan's waste problem. By cutting back on plastic waste the government will save a lot of money, which it could invest in such things as job creation, education and health. Paper is biodegradable, while plastic is not, so wasted paper presents much less of a problem than wasted plastic.

Probably the most important aspect of the government's plan is not the money that will be saved or the extent to which the waste problem will be reduced, but the fact that an effort is being made to extend the time limit that our "theory of destruc-tion" has placed on Mother Nature. To take at all cost without looking into the future is already proving fatal. The new policy will be a step toward sustainable economic growth accompanied by a little bit of care for Mother Nature.

Don't kill our world. She is all we have.

Cobus Olivier

Nantou County

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