Greener carriers, not levy, the solution

The use of plastic bags is an ongoing concern for various green groups. They continue to call for levies on the use of plastic bags.

Consumers should not be penalised for the use of plastic bags, as they are not in control of the type of bags supplied by businesses.

Instead, businesses should be penalised for not using more environmentally friendly material for their containers and carriers.

The authorities should work with stakeholders to find ways to supply environmentally friendly bags to consumers, instead of just slapping extra charges on consumers to try to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Concurrently, government agencies should work with local research institutes to develop new material for carriers and containers.

Saddling consumers with extra charges for the use of plastic bags is an easy way out, but this puts unnecessary financial pressure on many people in this slowing economy, especially the lower-income group.

If increasing public transport fares by just one cent attracts so much hue and cry from the public, imagine the bigger outcry if consumers are to be charged 10 cents for every plastic bag used.

Lim Tong Wah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2016, with the headline 'Greener carriers, not levy, the solution'. Print Edition | Subscribe