Plastic bag campaign falls apart at the seams
Marine life killed by nets not bags shock
The bottom could be about to fall out of the government’s crusade against plastic bags, with claims that one of the key underpinnings of the campaign against them is based on nothing more than a typo.
The Times says Australian researchers, commissioned to produce a report on the effect of plastic bags, misquoted a 1980s report on deaths of ocean animals off Newfoundland. The original report covered deaths due to abandoned fishing gear and the like, saying that between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine animals, and a million birds, were killed by discarded nets.
However, the Australian researchers somehow turned that into plastic bags. Following good environmental practice, the misleading report has, apparently, been endlessly recycled to bolster the case against the modern world’s favourite standby bin liner, nappy disposal device, sports kit sorter, and football practice aid. Some people even use them to carry stuff home from shops.
Indeed, the paper quotes Greenpeace, amongst others, saying there is no evidence that plastic bags are a prime threat to the planet’s sea life.
However, the realisation has probably come too late, with the UK government poised to mandate charges for plastic bags, and the London Mayor poised to ban them altogether, with plastic bag border guards patrolling the M25 and key routes into the capital.
The Times quotes Lord Taverne, the chairman of Sense about Science, condemning the government for jumping on the anti-plastic bag bandwagon without evidence. “This is one of many examples where you get bad science leading to bad decisions which are counter-productive. Attacking plastic bags makes people feel good but it doesn’t achieve anything.”
Perhaps the good lord is being a little naive here. The government might have no evidence that plastic bags do cause harm to marine animals, but we’re pretty sure it has evidence that a plastic bag tax will cause no harm to its efforts to greenwash Whitehall, while potentially producing a nice little earner at a time of straitened public finances. ®
"All aboard the Green Band Wagon" I can’t believe the Government have outlined carrier bags as a major problem for our society and that it was even mentioned in yesterday’s budget! We have major problems with the people dying from hospitals not being clean and they think the answer is taxing or banning free giveaway carrier bags?
I shop at Coop and Tesco and both have degradable bags that disappear after 3 years, not 100 years or 1,000 years like some of the papers are saying! I use these bags, not only to take my shopping home, but also many other uses such as to carry my lunch, my football boots and my son’s swimming kit, once they are worn out, they are used as bin liners in my bin. This saves me buying heavy weight bin liners which are not degradable! Coop and Tesco like other stores give these away free because they know that this is a very inexpensive way of advertising that is not a detriment to the environment.
People say about using paper bags instead, but this would be more harmful to the environment because of their carbon footprint before they are even used! They take 5 times the amount of energy to make and are more bulky to transport. I also wouldn’t fancy using them in the rain. However the ones I’ve seen have a plastic coating on them, so how long they take to degrade, who knows.
Ireland put a tax on the bag a few years ago and now they import more polythene through increased usage of bin liners, than ever before, so it if the government want to reduce polythene then that method doesn’t work. We should all reduce, re-use and recycle, but carrier bags can all be degradable if put in landfill and easily be recyclable if not.
I also have a few bags for life but unfortunately I quite often these as bin liners although they are not degradable. I even invested in a cotton bag and Jute bag for life, but never remember to take them to the shop. Even my Jute bag has a plastic lining inside!
I think by stopping using carriers, people will shop less at their local convenience stores, butchers, bakers etc. and will instead to go to ‘out of town supermarkets’, where they can take their trolleys direct to their cars, adding to the "death of the high street."
The government is also trying to promote Bio-fuels, and this is having a devastating effect on the rainforests - oh that’s right the UK doesn’t have any rainforests. However on a positive there’s not going to be any trees left for the odd discarded crisp packet or plastic bag to be blown into!
Jo, give us the links to these articles please. Because I for one think this is a classic rubbish. Find one dodgy paper, and tar the whole lot with it.
I dont have as much access to articles and papers any more .. but even I can find this reference page 36
Where the dangers to Loggerheads from plastic bags are well put. The problem being they look like Jellyfish and clog the 'ickle turtles tummies.
Also, I'm not keen on the countryside looking like your flat after a heavy w/e, you might not give a shit about your environs, but plastic bag trees do not fill me with joy. Why the rush to the basement on every issue? why continue to shit in your own proverbial gaff ? Do you live in Stains ?
All which goes to show, its not plastic bags per se, that are the problem. Its humans, free, and a waste disposal policy where its still cheaper to landfill than recycle.
From todays granuaid ...
"The sort of mentality that is prepared to carefully bag up litter and then hurl it into a hedge is beyond my comprehension."
Thank you Mr Edwards, its beyond mine as well.
Mines the Nomex Winter Jacket
"Once they start charging you 10p for a bag you soon develop the habit of having one or two stuffed in your jacket pocket. It's not the money, it's the spite that does it."
That's the same spite that causes me to be amused by using Morrisons bags at Sainsbury's and vice versa.