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Green Pulse Podcast: Is a plastic bag fee the right ‘green’ solution for Singapore?

Synopsis: Every first and third Monday of the month, The Straits Times analyses the beat of the changing environment, from biodiversity conservation to climate change.

Plastic bags. Let’s face it, most of us use them. They are a key feature of our consumer lifestyles, a symbol of convenience. But they are a huge source of waste, with the vast majority burned, sent to landfills or clogging rivers and the sea. 

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On July 3, 2023, Singapore introduced a minimum 5 cents charge for disposable plastic bags provided at hundreds of supermarkets. 

The aim is to nudge shoppers to think about how many bags they use and to switch to reusable bags instead. It’s all part of changing behaviour to reduce the huge amount of plastic waste and curb environmental impacts. 

So what’s the reaction been to the bag charge? Is it changing behaviour? 

ST climate editor David Fogarty invites science content creator Ms Kong Man Jing to the studio. She is better known as BioGirl MJ in her YouTube and Instagram channels Just Keep Thinking. 

Highlights (click/tap above):

3:18 What sort of plastic Ms Kong sees during her regular group visits to the seashore

7:03 How are people responding to the plastic bag charge?

9:34 The idea of a fee per bag at supermarkets faced strong resistance. Why is that?

15:10 Should Singapore move towards a higher charge and a total ban on all single-use plastics?

Produced by: David Fogarty (dfogarty@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim & Paxton Pang

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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