i took that picture when we went on that pasig river cruise in the hopes of finding our own dear "august". needless to say, what we found was lots of trash. it was enough to make one swear off plastic bags forever.
however, when the image (and smell) faded from my mind, i must admit that the practice of bringing a recyclable shopping bag with me at all times likewise faded. while i do remember to bring them with me once in a while (like last friday when i did my groceries☺), i think i don't do it often enough.
it was thus a wonderful surprise that in Hong Kong, there are places where they have a zero plastic bag policy, and ngong ping happens to be one of them.
on our first day in HK, we just dropped of our bags in the hotel and immediately went to ngong ping village. this "sculpture" was the village's ode to their policy of "fading out" the use of plastic bags. and, if the idea is something that you're not exactly comfortable with, the brass plaque on the sculpture has a couple of fascinating facts for the skeptic:
- the plastic bag you take lasts longer than yourself on the earth.
- plastic waste is pollution!
- plastic bags are harmful to the environment
- they are like monsters invading earth. although plastic bag[s] are still available everyone should do their part in changing their habits and fade out the usage of plastic bags in their daily lives.
what's more impressive is that in several stores - like mannings and taste - actually charge you 25 cents (Php1.50) for every plastic bag that they will use to put the stuff you purchased from the store in. quite revolutionary -- at least in SM on Wednesdays they give you the option of putting your purchases in paper bags for free -- and alarming (especially when we found ourselves in taste without our disposable bags and a whole lot of groceries -- thank goodness we had purchased a number of items from some of the other shops so we just redistributed those and used the extra bags for the groceries). i mean, can you imagine manila without plastic bags? can you imagine buying grocery and being told that unless you have your own shopping bags, you will have to pay for the plastic bags they will use? naku, baka magwala ang madlang pilipino niyan.
then again, can we entirely wipe out plastic bags from everyday use? i'm willing to bet that instead of buying trash bags, you use grocery bags as trash can liners. and that your "dirty clothes" as well as extra pairs of footwear during out-of-town trips are stashed in grocery bags as well. if households had no plastic bags at all, will we not end up buying some other form of plastic as well like garbage bags?
i wish i had an answer to my own questions. but for now, why don't you try it. it really doesn't hurt at all. ☺ ☺ ☺