When it was announced that 8 out of 14 recommendations from the working group has been adopted, it crossed my mind that perhaps like many of the recommendations, charging for plastic bag was something that NEA was already thinking of implementing before the Citizen Working Group.
However, I should have known better because it was at one of the session that the facilitator almost moved “tackling plastic bags” together with some other initiatives, I remembered protesting. I cannot remember the details - but it was that I did not want it to be lumped under some generic initiatives and once again be slapped with “education” as the solution outcome. Hence, I think it would only be fair to acknowledged that the government was not thinking of charging for plastic bags before the Citizen Working Group.
This is perhaps that one time that Single Minded Focus has paid off.
“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.” Abraham Lincoln
I always think of this quote when describing the role of the government. At least for the government of Singapore, I think the following applies:
On radical changes, the government can not be the one leading the charge. Other civic groups and companies will need to lead in the front, with a reasonable portion of the society also on the wagon, before the radical change can happen.
This is my sentiments with regards to the plastic bag charge in SG. More than 10 years ago, various Green Groups have been asking for it. Now that we have other than IKEA, H&M and a few retailers charging for it, we can finally look into making it mandatory for supermarkets.
P.S: I have a personal vendetta with plastic bag because I was lucky to be brought into IKEA as Sustainability Manager in 2013 to implement the removal of plastic bags. Other higher Gods have already succeeded in winning that decision.
Last but not least, many of us joined the Citizen Workgroup without the mindset that we will need to do much research and background work. Many probably think that is focus groups where you are asked for your opinions.