Forum: Cutting down on plastic bottles is more achievable

Ms Ng Wee Chew (Charging model for plastic bags at supermarkets urgently needed, Nov 16) said Singapore should make it mandatory for all retailers to charge for plastic bags.

While I do agree with the current global initiative to go green, there are important considerations on the impact downstream.

Ms Ng suggested that all major supermarkets should start charging for plastic bags from next year beginning with a uniform charge of 5 cents per bag. While 5 cents per bag might not be exorbitant for the above-average income earner, it could be a hefty sum for the less well-off. Should a national policy penalise the poor?

To help the less well-off, there may be suggestions that the authorities provide reusable bags.

But this leads to another question. Without plastic bags, how are households going to dispose of their garbage?

If rubbish and leftover food are thrown into bins or down the rubbish chutes without being placed in bags, this would create an environmental and hygiene problem.

More thought needs to be given to this matter and I don't believe that we would solve the problem by merely charging for plastic bags. Cutting down on single-use plastic bottles is something more achievable in the immediate future.

Lim Hock Meng

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