06 December 2006

White Trash

One thing I've always disliked about shopping in Asia (any part, from the Middle East to China) are the flimsy plastic bags you always end up with. Bags that can't hold anything. They're awful and they're everywhere (the few grocery stores in Bishkek that had decent bags would ration them out carefully- I usually took a cloth bag with me to avoid the bad ones). Everyone knows they're awful; most store owners will at least double bag your stuff.

But what's even worse about the total ineffectiveness of these bags is that they all seem to end up on the ground somewhere. This picture is from India, but the same picture could be taken in dozens of other countries. Countries prone to flooding have even more reason to worry because they seem to clog up drainage system- Dhaka and Mumbai in addition to others have banned them for this reasons. I hate these bags.

But so do lots of people and there's a growing movement to ban plastic bags, or at least the flimsy little ones. Tanzania just banned the thin ones; several other African countries have already banned them. Beijing has been trying to crack down on them in preparation for the Olympics. But too many cities continue to ignore this problem. And it's something so worthless that's filling up the streets.

(Yes, I know there are problems with plastic bags in the US. But it's nowhere near the problem it is in some other countries. And it's easy to fix in the US- just don't use plastic bags, or reuse the ones you do. And be grateful that you can get strong bags so easily.)

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