So it’s a new year and after the hoopla and flurry of good wishes died down we are left with this new ban on plastic bags now known as ‘ban-xit’, a play on the British term (for their withdrawal from the EU) ‘Brexit’ cuz a so we Jamaicans nuff bad. So here is my two cents on the matter of the plastic bag ban.
I believe it was a knee jerk reaction but I expect no less from government. Other countries have banned plastic bags but over a course of 3 to 5 years to properly phase out the material and give the manufacturers time to source a feasible substitute as well as not to displace workers, disrupt the economy as well as the livelihood of thousands of people. Instead, in less than 6 months, we were unceremoniously slapped with this new world order and people are no happy. Instead of a quick ban, there should have been a gradual phase out, during which time they facilitated the manufacturer making bio-degradable bags (some were actually already doing it!!!) that can naturally break down and disintegrate within a year.
The call for the ban was as a result of all the mukky garbage that is thrown into our gullies. This should have spurred the government to implement a re-education programme letting the public know that this was not ok, was unsanitary and how it affected the environment long term. These ‘nassey’ people need fi stop defecate in plastic bags and simply sail dem in a gully. Who lives like that?!!
Plastic is pervasive period. It’s the straw, spoon, fork, bag, container, wrap etc, it’s all over and covers a lot, like literally. Therefore its impact is gonna be tremendous. I keep hearing that paper is the new plastic but that’s a stupid solution because the whole reason why plastic got so popular was to save the trees so now apparently we got sick of shady trees and ago just start ‘slash and burn’ again. Ok then, carry on.
It has been at times hilarious to see the stores’ and fast food estaurants’ response to the ban. There is not collective or cohesive effort. Tastee still a give you patty in their branded plastic bags while some supermarket a give useless paper bags. Some stores a use brown paper or newspaper, I kid you not while island grill says if you don’t ask for a straw, you nah get none! Some stores are so confused that if you purchase a blouse they say thanks and hand it to it you as is for you to walk with it in your hand like you teif it!
The paper bags at the supermarket is a joke because they are thin, tear easily and already people’s groceries have been damaged or broken because the bottom of the paper bag fell out. On top of that the bags have no handles which is utter rubbish as the bags being sold are not for stuff with weight so it makes no sense. I have actually seen quality paper bags for shopping but not the crap the supermarket is pushing. They are also branding their own bags and selling which is fine but some of them are making the bags small to ensure that you end up buying quite a few. Not me. Add to this is the fact that most of the the bag handles are glued on and not sewn on to guaranteed that it is sturdy. Most of what is being sold or promoted will leave your groceries on the ground.
So because I like the safety and sturdiness of my scandal bags I have been walking with a few inside my knapsack and was kindly informed since week that come February 1, they will not be allowed in the supermarket for me to pack up my groceries in them so I am to purchase their branded bags instead. Well, the devil is a liar! They can’t tell me what I can pack my groceries in! The government ban is on the manufacturing of certain size single use plastic bags, it does not say anything about carrying the bag. Them caa trick or intimidate me!
Some are advocating the use of calabash bowls, forks and spoons so i wanna hear more about the feasibility of this. I also wanna know what will replace the straws. It will be interesting to see how ‘ban-xit’ all plays out over the course of the next few months.