Friday, 28 September 2018

Banning plastic

[This post was started in Oct 2017.]

There is another "environmentally conscious" writer advocating the banning of plastic bags. For the sake of the environment.

This is an example of the green movement not taking its own philosophy. Or rather "socially conscious" Singaporeans not being conscious in all other sense of the word.

"Think Global. Act Local."

From the article: "Today this (restricting the use of plastic bags) has become a global practice to save the environment. "

Oh so it's a "Global practice"? Well we should copy them then so we don't appear backward.

Green Singaporeans are acting like other greenies in other countries and NOT acting local or thinking local.

Why are plastic bags the "bad guys" in the Environment Story?

1) Cos they are wasteful (of resources; are used once and thrown away; they are made with fossil fuel; probably a few more reasons)

And reusable bags use less resources? Depending on what reusable bags are used (and hopefully reused), the materials to make one may be 100s of times more than the resources needed to make one plastic bag. That means using the reusable bag at least 100 times (more or less) in other to be better for the environment resource wise. If you toss the reusable bag after 50 times, you might as well have used 50 plastic bags. So how often have you re-used a reusable bag? If you conscientiously do so, GOOD FOR YOU. If you are like the rest of us and use a reusable bag only occasionally, well, don't be hard on yourself. We all do it. Well, most of us. Anyway,

...encouraging people to buy reusable bags without making sure these bags actually get reused an adequate number of times results in a worse result for the environment overall.
And if you wash the reusable bag (and I hope you do, at least occasionally), you need to add the washing (water, detergent, treating the waste water) to the resource cost of the reusable bag.

2) Cos they hurt nature/animals/sea creatures.

And yes, plastic litter indiscriminately tossed into the environment often end up in the seas/oceans where they pollute, poison and choke the sea and its inhabitants. 

And yes, there was that infamous picture of a turtle with a straw up its nose. (How do we know it wasn't just trying to snort cocaine and had a mishap?) Anyway, if you miss straws, it's all that cocaine snorting turtle's fault!

Question, is that is a littering problem or a plastic problem? Any product (including your electronic waste) indiscriminately disposed off can pollute and poison the environment. And since I brought up electronic waste, if you change your smartphone every 4 years instead of every year or even every 2 years, you have done more for the environment than saving 100,000 plastic bags (figure is an estimate). 

3) Cos they end up in landfills and take thousands of years to breakdown, choking the environment.

So? We should emotionally scar them so they breakdown faster? Oh wait! We incinerate ALL our waste. On Pulau Semakau, all wastes are the same.

But wait, isn't incineration bad for the environment? How is this better than the annual haze from Indonesia?

Because the Tuas Incinerator is not a backyard fire, and Singapore has standards of a developed country, not some third world country. Because it is not an open uncontrolled fire, but a super-hot (IIRC, the fire is over 1000C or close to it. An open fire may hit 500C. ) furnace, and the exhaust gases are filtered before being vented into the atmosphere.

Ban plastic bags for the sake of the environment? That's not "Think Global, Act Local". That's "Think Global. Copy Global into Local. Understand Global, but be totally ignorant of Local Context. Then look down on locals who think YOLO (you obviously lack originality), and that you are probably EBI (Educated Beyond your Intelligence)."

Because in SG, we re-use plastic bags for our garbage.

Yes, use less plastic bags. Reuse plastic bags. Dispose of plastic bags properly. But THINK.

[And that's my rant for today. Apologies for the tone.]

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