Important to curb use of plastic bags

Disposable food packaging constitutes a big part of Singapore's waste and is harmful to the environment ("NEA to study impact of takeaway packages"; last Friday).

A question related to this issue is this: Why are plastic bags given out so freely by retailers in Singapore when these are known to harm the environment?

My family used to live in Hong Kong. Whenever we went shopping, we would take along cloth bags. If we did not have our bags with us, we would either buy a plastic bag or carry our things home without any bags.

The Hong Kong authorities fully implemented a levy on plastic shopping bags last year. Many cities in Indonesia have also introduced a plastic bag levy.

Thus, I am amazed at how generously (and excessively) plastic bags are given out by shops and supermarkets here.

For instance, whenever my mother buys a two-litre bottle of fresh milk, it would be placed in two plastic bags, one over the other, even if we say we do not need so many bags.

Also, many people here do not take along reusable cloth bags when they go shopping.

Why has Singapore not introduced a plastic bag levy? I hope one will be introduced soon to discourage the use of plastic bags.

This will both protect our environment and reduce cost.

Andrew Timothy Siauw, 10, Primary 4 pupil

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Important to curb use of plastic bags'. Print Edition | Subscribe