Let’s ban plastic bags
It is a sad and retrograde step that the Porirua City Council has voted not to introduce a bylaw that would ban plastic bags in our city.
In this respect, Porirua is out of step with a number of major cities including San Francisco, Toronto, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Mumbai, Delhi and a host of others easily accessible on Google that have made moves to partially or totally ban plastic bags.
Porirua has a serious litter problem. I know because every week I spend 10 hours or more cleaning the various foreshores and streams in this city. Only yesterday I spent four hours on my hands and knees along the shore of the lagoon south of the Gear Homestead.
In that time I collected two maxisized rubbish bags full to the brim and I had only covered 100 metres of shoreline by the time I quit to continue another day. Almost all of the rubbish was plastic of one sort or another, but the number of plastic bags was beyond belief.
There were more than 20 bags just floating in the water in that short stretch and the shore was absolutely strewn with them amongst all the other plastic junk. I was watched by one white heron and felt embarrassed to be a member of the human race.
Education has not worked. Some local shops are showing welcome initiative, such as Spotlight, which recently was rewarding customers for bringing their own bag four times with a 20 per cent discount on the next purchase, but various supermarkets and other businesses continue to give out bags without charge and so many just end up blowing into the waterways, walkways and in our streets.
It is shocking to learn that plastic bags were banned by Bangladesh in 2002 after plastic bags were found to have been responsible for the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged most of their country. It is humbling to know that Rwanda banned plastic bags years ago and is said to be one of the cleanest nations on earth.
Porirua City has many outstanding features and I personally am very proud to live here. What I am not proud of in this city is our habit of using plastic as if it has no value, and dropping it here, there and everywhere without regard to its effect on the environment.
We are an example to the country in so many ways and we are in a position to lead the country on the pressing issue of plastic, yet we have goofed.
(Letter abridged) car would have travelled 13 metres. The World Health Organisation recommends 20 or 30kph outside schools and play areas.
No matter how well children and even teenagers are taught about the dangers of the road, when they are near their mates, their brains often go to mush. Also children’s brains are not developed enough to be able to judge the speed of vehicles coming towards them.
I have been in touch with Associate Minister of Transport Simon Bridges and he tells me that a consistent speed limit outside schools isn’t feasible, as did Steven Joyce as Minister of Transport before. Meanwhile, Gerry Brownlee remains silent.
A consistent speed limit should be in place outside all schools. Roads need to be narrowed outside schools, to make drivers want to slow in the area and apart from the usual signage before the school zone. Paint on the road should alert drivers that they are entering a school zone.
This is one death of an innocent child too many. Our politicians need to start behaving like adults and protect our children.