The NEA's view on use of plastic bags

From Ong Seng Eng Director, Waste & Resource Management Department, National Environment Agency
Today Online 21 Jun 12;

We refer to the letter "Banning of plastic bags: What now?" (June 14).

The concerns over plastic bags relate to them being sent to landfills, where they can pollute the environment. In Singapore, most households reuse plastic bags to bag refuse.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) encourages reuse of plastic and other bags as part of our overall conservation efforts.

Our waste, including used plastic bags, is sent for disposal at the waste-to-energy incineration plants.

The disposal of plastic bags, therefore, does not pose an environmental problem as they do not end up in our landfill. However, we do find plastic bag litter, which could end up in our drains.

Also, from a resource conservation point of view, excessive use of plastic bags is a waste of resources.

Hence, while the NEA does not advocate a ban on plastic bags, we support the efforts of retailers and environmental groups encouraging consumers to either bring their own bags or reduce the use of plastic bags.

We should practise the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) for plastics and other recyclables.

Minimising waste and recovering resources from waste would help us optimise land use for waste collection and disposal facilities.

Banning of plastic bags: What now?
From M Lukshumayeh
Today Online 14 Jun 12;

I refer to the report "Etiquette 'not on pace with progress'" (May 30).

Mr Daniel Wang, former National Environment Agency Director-General for Public Health, had said: "Any proposal to ban plastic bags irks me. In Singapore, we burn our rubbish, so whether it's biodegradable or not, it doesn't make a difference.

"Secondly, because we encourage residents to bag their rubbish, sanitation is maintained."

This goes contrary to the hype about banning plastic bags and the push to have supermarkets charge consumers for use of these bags.

But taking into account Mr Wang's job experience, what he said made sense. Could the relevant authorities comment?