Earlier this month, shoppers in England went insane. The five pence carrier bag charge drove people to ranting about their civil liberties being taken away as if, five pence would break the bank. Realistically, adding an extra five pence to one’s shopping bill isn't something to lose sleep over. Neither is the purchasing of a few bags to cover your weekly shop. At the most, it’ll cost an extra pound and, if one can afford to buy enough groceries to fill fifty bags, one can afford an extra £1 onto the shopping bill.
However, I’m not writing this piece because I think the moaning about the charge is pathetic. I’m writing it because there’s something far more important to discuss. David Cameron’s government introduced this charge as an environmental ploy to make us forget about the government’s failure to tackle climate change effectively. Moreover, the carrier bag charge seems to have replaced the green subsidiaries for renewable energy in our homes.
Mr. Cameron’s ploy seems to have worked as well. Suddenly (After the moaning had stopped) many of us are praising the government for taking action against climate change because of the oil plastic bags take to make and the un-biodegradability of them. What we must see is that using fewer plastic bags will not change the impact of climate change and neither will it do anything to reverse global warming.
I will admit that using fewer plastic bags does stop the potential damage to wildlife but if this was the objective, all plastic packaging would come under this new legislation. As it doesn’t, it tells me that this simply wasn't the idea behind the new law and it is a sinister ploy from the government to make us think that he, as an ideologically neutral prime minister, is doing something meaningful during his time in office.
On the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website, they suggest that the reasons for the charge are the following: An expected overall benefit of over £780 million to the UK economy, up to £730 million raised for good causes, £60 million savings in litter clean-up costs and carbon savings of £13 million. The reasons given by DEFA show that they are using the charge for economic benefits and pass it off as an environmental scheme.
This policy is halfhearted, sinister and pointless. All plastic packaging should be reduced to stop the impact on the World’s wildlife, biodegradable bags are available already and should replace the five pence plastic alternatives and, the government needs to step up and pour money into green and renewable energy. However, this government is so ideologically neutral that they won’t do any of the aforementioned. Mr. Cameron only cares about his place in history with clean opinion ratings. We need a prime minister that will take action and radical action at that. They shouldn't care about their opinion ratings falling or their place on Wikipedia.