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Ban the Plastic Bag - A Community Action Plan Print E-mail
Reviewed by Ceri Balston   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Author: Rebecca Hosking

Ban the Plastic Bag - A Community Action PlanThis little pocket book is a call to action, sharing the knowledge of campaigners like Rebecca Hosking who are fighting to make their towns, villages and streets plastic bag free. An inspiring and very practical read this book gives you the tools, information and confidence to make you sit up and take action.

The book starts by looking at what motivated each of the campaigners and contributors to the book to get started. Hosking herself felt an irresistible call to action when making a marine wildlife documentary and witnessing the horrifying devastation these bags were causing first hand. Others were shocked at the huge amounts of plastic litter that was found washed up on their seaside town’s beaches every day. There are many stories and they’ll often leave you nodding in the knowledge that yes, you too have seen and experienced these too.

In our household one of the decisions we made a few years back when taking our first few tentative steps along the green path was to ditch the plastic bag in favour of the reusable ones on offer. It was a simple decision to make, we knew they were bad for the environment but we hadn’t really fully considered just how bad. Upon reading the second chapter ‘Plastic Facts’ we’re now feeling completely overwhelmed and ready to step further and faster along the green path. Here are just three of the stats that made our blood boil and made us question what the point of using plastic bags is at all.

  • Plastic bag litter is lethal, killing at least 100,000 birds, whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and turtles every year.
  • On average we use a plastic bag for 15 minutes before disposing of it.
  • A plastic bag takes up to 1,000 years to photo-degrade.
  • The world uses up to 1.2 trillion plastic bags each year.

These are just some of the stats that fill this book, along with websites and videos to look up to enabled you to become fully informed of all facets of this issue. These are the facts that can be used as the first part of the campaign to empower others to join in the Ban the Plastic Bag movement.

The third part of the book looks at exactly where to start. Yep, here in South Africa we may be further ahead of the UK in terms of the steps the government has taken to ban the plastic bag, but for there to be a real difference it’s up to us the people to take action. As Hosking’s puts it, “Please don’t wait for government to take action. To move things along more speedily, we the citizens need to be behind the wheel, driving the ban the plastic bag campaign. We have to be the ones to get things happening in our own communities - streets, towns, villages and even cities.”

The last two parts to the book look at the alternatives to plastic bags and then provides much needed information on how campaigners can stay motivated and overcome the challenges and obstacles they will inevitably face.

We found the format of this book to be particularly empowering, its real life stories and examples from very real people. These aren’t celebrities or politicians, these are people just like you and I who felt the strong urge to stand up and make a difference.

So if you’re beginning to hear a small but growing voice inside that’s saying, “I must do something” then getting hold of a copy of this fabulous little book is the best place for you to start, and soon who knows, that little whisper could soon turn into a confident shout.

Whether you’re a pale greenie who is just starting to take steps to protect the world we live in or a deep-green veteran campaigner this is book that you simply must have.

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