Monday, April 13, 2009

The Ban On Plastic Bags Is A Farce

Talifaitasi W. Satele


The House bill to ban plastic shopping bags is a farce as it will do little to protect our environment. After all, plastic shopping bags are not the only things flowing down our streams and choking our oceans. There are also diapers, cans, bottles, cardboard boxes… you name it, it’s there! Is the Chamber of Commerce going to ask the Fono to ban those items as well?

Free marketers always point to property rights as the means of effective environmental protection. People have the incentive to protect and maintain property from which they individually benefit and bear responsibility. And if government owns property, then it should enforce existing laws that protect it before going off on endless environmental crusades.

But I, for one, actually want to see this ban put into practice.

If biodegradable bags are “generally cheaper” than petroleum-based plastic bags as Mr. Robinson claims, then we wouldn’t need this ban to make the switch. We’d do it ourselves in the marketplace. And even if they were a cheaper alternative, I doubt these “environmental” bags are as convenient as their plastic counterparts are to us customers.

An attempt to force businesses and consumers to use something that’s most likely more expensive and less convenient is likely to cause a popular backlash. If that happens, it’d be interesting to see how many House members retain their seats after unanimously imposing something of this nature on their own constituents.

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