Do you know what is in our landfills? Do you know how many landfills do we have in the country? Do you care? If we don't do anything, there will be more landfills taking up valuable land spaces and creating environmental problems.
According to the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, the last major study on waste was done in 2005. According to that study, we throw away around 189,000 tonnes of waste per year. Those wastes are made up of:
Food Waste - 36%
Paper - 18%
Plastics - 16%
Yard Waste - 6%
Diapers - 6%
Metal - 4%
Glass - 3%
Textiles - 2%
Wood - 1%
E-Waste - 1%
Rubber - 1%
Inert - 1%
Out of the top 3, the ones that do not biodegrade well is plastics. Over 1/5 of all waste is plastics and the majority of plastic waste are mostly shopping plastic bags. That's right. Those thin flimsy plastic bags are in the world's landfills and not just us here in Brunei.
Last December, JASTRE went to 4 supermarkets during the weekends and counted the number of plastic bags used. They found that on Saturdays between 3,000 to 5,550 plastic bags were used and on Sundays between 4,200 to 8,200 plastic bags were used. This means to almost close to 400,000 pieces of plastic bags were used per store every weekend. 20 majos supermarkets can consume between 22 million to 60 million bags per year.
Not many realised the impact of plastic bags. They do not biodegrade well and can take hundreds of years to break down. During breakdown, they will produce toxic particles polluting the environment. They are everywhere because they are so light and they have clogged up waterways and drainage system contributing to floods. They choke, strangle and starve wildlife to death. Producing plastic bags require million of gallons of fuel. Manufacturing also adds tonne of carbon emissions into the air annually. Those 22 million to 60 million plastic bags in Brunei require 30,000 to 90,000 litres of fuel to produce.
What do we plan to do?
On 14th March 2011, the Honourable Minister of Development will launch the promo campaign to introduce the no plastic bags weekend. There will be posters at the supermarkets and public places, there will be adverts on radio and television, there will be SMS on DST and B-Mobile phones, there will be adverts on local newspapers and there will be banners throughout the country telling the public that from 26TH MARCH 2011, MAJOR SUPERMARKETS WILL NOT ISSUE PLASTIC BAGS DURING WEEKENDS.
You don't have to wait until 26th March 2011. You can do it now. From now on, remember to bring and use your reusable bags whenever you go to supermarkets. Spread the word. NO PLASTIC BAGS.