Wednesday, 2 May 2007



BY-THE-WAY, please e-mail me if you would like a copy of my paper 'Plastic Not Fantastic' published when I was a member of the London Assembly.


San Franciscan Greens last month succeeded in banning plastic bags
from their city's shops, whilst a town in Devon is today set to
follow the same course. (1)

All 43 traders and shopkeepers in Modbury will stop providing plastic bags to customers, giving out 100% biodegradable cornstarch bags,recyclable paper bags or reusable cotton and jute bags instead. The move comes as a result of a campaign run by a local woman who saw first hand the effects of plastic rubbish on marine life.

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today spoke out against plastic bags as an environmental menace:

"Plastic bags are widely recognised as an environmental menace, both as non-biodegradable waste and as a profligate form of oil
consumption. The UK needs to legislate to curb this most ubiquitous symbol of consumerist short-termism.

"The green movement globally is campaigning against them. Of the 100 billion bags disposed of in America each year under 5% are recycled, yet three weeks ago the Green Party representatives in San Francisco,led by Ross Mirkarimi,got “the bag” banned from the city.

"It is estimated that the San Franciscan ban alone will reduce oil
consumption by nearly 800,000 gallons per annum. Los Angeles, Santa Monica,Oakland and Berkeley are examining comparable policies, and
New York is said to be considering a tax or similar disincentive.
However, California, let alone the US as a whole, is not leading on this issue.

"Plastic bags are already prohibited in Rwanda, Bhutan, Bangladesh, South Africa (where the legislation threatens imprisonment for
violations) and Mumbai. Paris too has proposals for a ban in large stores by 2008, and the rest of France for 2010. Taiwan and Ireland have opted for the principle of “sale only” – i.e. all plastic bags must be purchased by the consumer,as a deterrent measure.

"The UK must join this growing trend which not only offers hope of
limiting the blight of plastic bags befouling our urban and rural
environments, especially our waterways where they are a particular
hazard to wildlife, but furthermore would assist in meeting the
imminent landfill crisis in waste management.

"Legislation encouraging the use of biodegradable alternatives, not made from fossil fuels,would be sensible, making it easier for all
of us to protect the planet."

To read Derek's blog on this issue "To avoid danger of suffocation", please see:

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