The way I see it, we have a God given responsibility to take care of our environment.
Further, the way we take care of our environment, will either HELP us or HARM us.
Earlier this week, I commenced a one man campaign against the OVERUSE of PLASTIC BAGS.
Dear reader, have you observed how many plastic bags are utilized in a given day or week, that we receive from our local supermarkets?
Sometimes, you buy one item and you get two plastic bags.
Well I newa!
They say it depends on the weight of the item.
I am sadly aware of the potential dangers of plastic bags, especially when they are improperly disposed of.
So, I wrote the following letter to all of the supermarkets and hand delivered it myself.
I also left copies for the Minister of Health; the Chamber of Industry and Commerce; The Environmental Health Office and the Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority.
‘5th September, 2018
Supermarkets, Groceries, Shops,
CC Minister of Health,
Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority,
Environmental Health Office.
I speak to you from my heart, as a concerned citizen and former Public Health Inspector, as I draw your attention to an age old health problem that is plaguing countries around the world and more specifically, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
I refer to the overuse of plastics and the potential health hazards that they cause to our environment.
The current practice at most, if not all of our supermarkets and grocery stores, is for items purchased, to be placed into plastic bags, for the benefit of the consumer. Sometimes, small purchases are placed into multiple plastic bags.
The end result, is that hundreds of shoppers go home with numerous plastic bags at no additional expense.
The problem is then compounded with what transpires after the goods have been removed from the bags. Research has revealed that a very small percentage of these bags are reused in anyway and the majority of them are dumped and mostly in an indiscriminate manner.
As you may be aware, plastics are not easily biodegradable. Research has confirmed the following: Paper carry bags will decompose within two to five months, whereas plastic carry bags will decompose in 15 to 1,000 years, depending on their makeup.
Some of the dangers resulting from improperly disposed plastics include but are not limited to: They act as pollutants that can adversely affect wild life and humans, on land and in the marine environment. The chemical structure of most plastics render them resistant to many natural processes of degradation. The marine animals, can be harmed either by mechanical effects, such as entanglement in plastic objects or problems related to ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics that interfere with their physiology. Humans are also affected by plastic pollution, such as through disruption of various hormonal mechanisms.
Bearing the aforementioned in mind, I am making a simple proposal that is currently utilized in some developed countries:
- That the general public be forewarned that no plastic bags will be provided for shoppers, given advanced notice of at least one month, to the date of implementation.
- That from that date onwards, shoppers will not be given plastic bags but instead, will be provided with the options of either taking their goods by their own means or purchasing a durable and reusable shopping bag, provided by the business place, at a reasonable cost. This bag can be used multiple times over, or persons can purchase others, if they forget to bring it along.
In my humble opinion, the business places are providing plastic bags at their own expense to the consumers, free of cost. In this proposal, they can totally rid themselves of such an expense and charge a fee for the durable, reusable bags.
I sincerely hope that this proposal will meet with your kind approval.
Yours in Health,
Now I am fully aware that I have just made myself some new enemies and lost some very good friends, because most persons do not love change. Especially when it takes them out of their COMFORT ZONE. However, I am not one to believe in a lot of TALK and HYPE and no action. I am not really saying anything new. I am just seeking to get some action on it.
Lots of people have been talking about it but someone has to play the lead role in getting it done.
In some countries, it has been implemented and is working beautifully. Just like the seat belt thing. You remember when it was first implemented, how we used to kick up and now it is as natural as putting on clothes?
Well, if my proposal is implemented, one day, when we are heading to the supermarket, we will always remember to take along a REUSUABLE bag or purchase one at the business place.
The question is: Will the supermarkets’ hierarchy have the guts to make the step?
I would want to think so.
It was only last Saturday night, when I listened to a presentation by my good friend, Shefton Liburd, that I was reminded that in the GOOD OLE DAYS, when that versatile flour bag was used to hold rice in one corner; flour in another; sugar in a next and cornmeal in the other. All neatly tied and it was common to see the housewives heading home from the SHOP, with their groceries neatly placed into cardboard boxes, nicely balanced on their heads.
I just heard ‘Yeah –right!’ I know that you think that that was primitive and I don’t recommend primitive but there are other things we can do that are not primitive but will not impact our beloved environment in a negative manner.
In Genesis 1: 15 it says: ‘And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.’
The GARDEN here for us is the EARTH where we live and we ought to DRESS and KEEP it.
Are we doing a god job? I rather think not.
Can we do a better job? Of course!
Let us then work together to reduce our use of plastics that are detrimental to the environment; stop the littering and keep Nevis a clean and beautiful place to live, love and laugh.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?