Anti-Plastic Petition, Singapore
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Dear Dr Amy Khor Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources,
We issue this petition on World Environment Day with grave concern as to your recent comments regarding plastic bag usage, as reported in several news outlets including the Straits Times. We refer in particular to the absence of plans for a levy on plastic bags, or any meaningful legislation to curb the prodigious usage of them in our country.
Singapore now stands with the ever-diminishing list of countries that avoid the critical issue of excessive plastic consumption. In this regard, we are sorry to say that Singapore stands on the wrong side of history. But this is something that you, in your role as Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, can address - not just for the good of your contemporaries, but also for all future generations. We face the prospect of a world weighed down by plastic - where the discovery of dead animals’ stomachs full of discarded plastic waste is the norm, not the exception. This is a world we cannot accept, and therefore which it is our responsibility to prevent.
A plastic bag levy is a practical solution which will both draw attention to the often unthinking usage of multiple bags when fewer or none will do, whilst simultaneously generating revenue which can be used to develop alternative materials, recycling options, or even to promote other elements of the government’s environmental agenda. It makes little sense to avoid implementing a levy until an alternative material can be developed - this condemns our country and the surrounding region to potentially years more pollution on a vast scale, and is representative of nothing more than a policy void paired with permanent and harmful implications for the world.
We must only look around us - to the many other countries in the world that have led from the front, for inspiring stories of how small changes can have powerful effects. In the UK, a 5 pence plastic bag levy led to an 83% drop in usage within one year. In Taiwan, an NT$1 charge for every plastic bag led to an 80% drop usage within a year. Australia achieved a 45% drop, Denmark a 60% drop - the list goes on, and on - and each example demonstrates that change is possible. Plastic bag usage is an addiction, and one that can be broken: For the good of all of us and all of the world around us.
Dr Khor, you occupy a position of wisdom and responsibility within our government so we ask that you consider this when considering our petition. We ask that you look at not the short-term issues, but those of the long-term. In fifty years a generation will look back and wonder how people could so recklessly and persistently damage the world around them. And so we ask you to help us stand on the right side of history. This petition requests that you implement a levy on plastic bag usage, with a view to reducing overall usage of plastic bags in Singapore. We do not ask that you find an alternative, and thus we do not accept that a delay is necessary until an alternative can be found. Meaningful action can be taken now, and we ask that you take it.
For those signing this petition, thank you for your action. Please leave your comments and stories below for Dr Amy Khor to read as well. Our voices must be heard.
For more information on plastics, visit wwf.sg/uselessplastic
Photo credit: National Geographic
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