Paper, not plastic

Muna Al-Fuzai

Every time I go shopping to the local market to buy even a few small items, I end up with a handful of plastic bags, a few items in each. I feel pain about this because plastic bags are damaging to the environment.
The use of plastic bags represents a serious environmental problem, as they are made from materials that do not degrade and remain buried in the environment for many years and often end up in the rivers and oceans. Even in the case of burning them, plastic bags pose a threat as they emit chemical compounds in the form of a black cloud that leads to air pollution which negatively affects human health and increases global warming and climate change. I believe that we need to completely eliminate the consumption of plastic bags.


Some countries in the world began to ban the manufacture, import or use of plastic bags. The first country that passed a ban on the use of these bags was Denmark in 1993. They imposed a law charging a fee for the use of plastic bags, which reduced their consumption by 60 percent. I guess if we asked the public to pay for plastic bags, we would witness a similar reduction in use in Kuwait. But there should also be an alternative like paper bags or biodegradable bags for free. The public would welcome that.


In fact, there are a number of countries in the world that have felt the damage caused by excessive plastic bag use and have begun campaigns supporting this transformation supported by the law to eliminate plastic bags.


The United States began a campaign to fight plastic bags in 2007. In 2014, San Francesco banned the use of plastic bags and banned water bottles that were made of plastic.


In late 2018, a draft resolution was introduced in the Turkish parliament to impose a fee on plastic bags. The plan aimed to protect the environment by imposing purchasing value on the consumption of the plastic bags and selling it to the buyer.


Thus, the buyer and seller reduce the use of plastic bags, using old bags or other bags made of cloth, as the cloth will cause less environmental damage compared to plastic.


I hope that the municipality and the public authority of environment work together on the matter by issuing a law that deals with recycling waste and protecting the environment from the damage of plastic bags. Local coops have recently announced that they will begin to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly ones, a good step in the right direction.
There is a real and urgent need to act on this topic to stop this tampering with our environment and to achieve this goal we need an awareness campaigns for the public starting with school kids to stop using plastic bags and look for other things that won’t cause damage to the environment.


It’s time we began to consider how our lifestyles, actions and behavior affect and damage the world around us. Without taking measures to protect and preserve our land and our environment, what will the future hold for us?

By Muna AlFuzai
muna@kuwaittimes.net