OpEd: Is banning plastic bags in Taiwan necessary? | Estella Tong – Grade 8

plastic bags garbage taiwan Taiwan's bags are literally strangling the ocean.
  • 800 million tons of plastic has been thrown into the ocean
  • Taiwan has banned stores from providing free plastic bags
  • Keeping foldable bags with you during outings will make shopping more convenient

Environmental problems caused by plastic litter around the world are increasing greatly. According to the World Economic Forum, about 800 million tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean, which means that every minute, there’s a truck of garbage thrown into the sea. If we don’t improve, the amount of trash in the ocean will be a lot more than the amount of fish in 2050.

Since 2002, Taiwan has stipulated stores like supermarkets, chained convenience stores, discount stores, etc. (a total of seven types of stores) must make customers pay for plastic bags. This way, people can make it a hobby by bringing their own bags when shopping. Since the passage of this law, the usage of plastic bags has decreased by about 200 billion every year. This year, the Taiwanese government has decided to ban more stores from providing free plastic bags to coordinate in saving the earth.

Though reducing plastic waste benefits the ocean, it might cause a lot of inconvenience to people living in Taiwan. It is not a popular habit in Taiwan to bring our own bags when shopping since we believe that stores will automatically give us bags when we buy their products.

However, after this provision was announced, most of the stores like beverage stores will make us pay for one plastic bag. Some people think paying a dollar for a plastic bag is worth the price since they think it really helps saving the world. Others always bring a bag with them and try to avoid buying plastic bags. However, people still aren’t used to it, which cause a lot of inconvenience, like not having enough hands to carry things after shopping.

As for other stores, providing eco-friendly garbage bags is also a smart choice. Even though this provision seems like a not-so-serious case, if stores that are banned from giving plastic bags break the law, the penalty will be from 1200-6000 NTD.

However, not giving plastic bags to customers isn’t too inconvenient as long as it really helps the environment. The goal for banning more industries from giving plastic bags is to hope to decrease the amount of plastic bag usage every year from 200 billion to over 350 billion.

Here are two important tips to coordinate with this provision that will make shopping more convenient:

  1. You should always keep a foldable and reusable hand bag in you purse or bag. By keeping foldable bags in your bag all the time helps you remember to bring bags without taking up too much space.
  2. There are a lot of beverage stores in Taiwan and the drinks are really good, especially during summer. People must go to beverage shops but when it comes to plastic bag problems, it gives people a headache. These days, you can get a reusable bag made just for beverages. This bag not only has a hole on the top, it also has a hole at the bottom. It also has a strip to hold on. By following these tips, the worst problems are solved.

Overall, banning plastic bags has many benefits to the earth and species to the ocean. This might also be president Tsai and the government’s most intelligent provision so far. So, instead of complaining about the inconvenience of this rule, why not start bringing your own bags and start saving the earth?

About Taipei Teen Tribune (105 Articles)
Taipei Teen Tribune is a free-to-read online news and interest blog written by some especially talented teenagers from Taiwan. We like to talk about life as students, important issues that affect people in Taiwan including politics, daily life, and even more fun issues like restaurant and movie reviews. Our site is great for teens and adults alike, anyone wanting to practice English, and for locals interested in fresh perspectives. Like our page on Facebook, sign up for our newsletter or visit our blog for our latest write-ups on what's happening in Taiwan.

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