COME Jan 1, shops in Penang are expected to charge RM1 for each plastic bag.
This 80 sen increase for a bag from the current 20 sen currently imposed, will be from Thursdays to Sundays, while no plastic bags will be sold on other days, the Penang state legislative assembly was told today.
The current 20 sen charge is applied daily except for Mondays, which is deemed no-plastic-bag days.
The fees are reportedly collected by the city councils, as part of measures to curtail plastic waste.
For the purpose of making this an interesting conversation, let us view this announcement from the perspective of a Penang ‘Aunty’ who walks daily to her neighbourhood wet market.
A DAY IN A LIFE OF AUNTY DENISE …
In the age of Covid-19, she has to put on a face mask and practice physical distancing while tugging her heavy cart or shopping basket.
On her walk to the market under the hot sun, she stops for a cold drink. She is unable to finish the glass of soya bean milk she bought and now has to fork out RM1 for a plastic bag.
As she shops, she runs out of space in her cart and has to pay RM1 for additional stuff she purchases.
She will probably end up paying RM5 for five additional items wrapped in plastic bags.
On her way home, the sun is at its hottest, and Aunty Denise seeks refuge in a nearby kopitiam (coffee shop). While at the kopitiam, she suddenly feels tired after all the walking and shopping and no longer feels like cooking for that day.
She decides to buy ‘char kuay teow’ and nasi lemak for herself, her husband and their two children too, while forking our an extra RM4.
That marketing trip itself has cost this aunty RM10 (one pack of drinks, five marketing purchases and four packs of food). That is a lot of money for an average housewife, especially in this day and age.
In the past, she paid RM2. She did that as she was mindful that everyone has to do his/her part for the environment.
Now she finds herself needing to pay five times more!
People who make these rules make more money, have maids and have private cars and drivers, and RM10 is probably not much to them.
What about an average “Aunty” like Denise who is trying to make ends meet in this age of prolonged global pandemic and economic hardship?
Is this the “new normal” policymakers want to impose on the rakyat….all in the name of a new green deal?
“Aunty” will definitely not forget this.