Thanks to Tom Fletcher for his excellent column in the April 11 Saanich News, ‘Why bag bans may actually make things worse.’ Unfortunately too many people are led astray, as you say, by emotional and shallowly thought-out proposals on ways to become more environmentally friendly.
When I first heard that a movement was underway to ban retail plastic bags, I was extremely skeptical and said sarcastically to my husband, “It’s ABI” (Another Bright Idea). So many of these “bright ideas” are poorly conceived, unresearched, and as you say, can actually make things worse. I think it is criminal (and should be chastised) when the media shows video files of pollution in far-flung countries, making it appear as though Victoria could become the same if we don’t act on their idea.
I am sad to say that I have become very cynical over the years. Perhaps the saying is true that people get the politicians they deserve. There needs to be a more scientific approach to determining whether or not a particular intervention is helpful or not, and accountability for politicians.
For example, consider sewage treatment in Greater Victoria. There is solid evidence that transporting the leftover sludge to some other land-based repository will be much more harmful to the environment than letting it biodegrade in our fast flowing oxygen-rich tidal waters. I don’t believe a cost-benefit analysis has ever been done on the project. Those responsible for this omission are not fit for their jobs. It is a political driven exercise, just like the plastic bag issue.
Taxpayers must bear the burden of the cost for something that may make more pollution than leaving things as they are. The politicians pat themselves on their own backs thinking they have made a name for themselves. If the truth comes out that they seriously miscalculated the outcome, the leaders who pushed for it are not held responsible in any way.
Thanks for pointing out some salient facts about the plastic bag issue. Keep up the good work.