It’s weird. I’m congratulating dear old Northern Ireland on getting a bag tax. Why?
It was so inspiring when Ireland [Republic] passed their bag tax in 2002, months after I arrived back from Australia. A lot of Aussies thought I’d been working very fast but of course, it was nothing to do with me!
I seized on the Irish bag tax, as my first chance [of many] to sing N. Ireland’s praises, saying in my 2006 NEEDabag? campaign launch, ‘we in the North don’t need a tax, a law or a levy. We can say no to plastic bags……’
We did pretty well. I saw a huge reduction in plastic bag use and a lot of other excellent environmental work done in NI during my 10 years there. I even saw a reduction in the amount of litter lying around. And I met thousands and thousands of people who were doing things to clean the place up. And boy, did it need it? The rubbish there was truly disgusting. I hope it’s still improving.
So now what’s happening? From Monday NI shoppers will have to cough up 5p per bag. Bags will magically vanish from the scene. I hope so, but don’t get smug. Keep stripping your bag and packaging use right back. Choose things in shops that have used the most responsible packaging.
If the bags don’t disappear from your part of our beautiful planet this year, I’ll be calling on 240,000 children in NI Eco-Schools and asking them to gently draw the attention of adults in their life, to this and other waste issues.
But pause to pat yourselves on the back. NI has 930+ schools signed up for Eco-Schools: Australia has none. Funding for education in Sustainable Living [ASAP!!!] has been pulled in all Aussie governments, state and federal. The children are not learning what they need to know for their future.
But the first Aussie politicians have signed Pledge ASAP. So things are changing… all we need is for YOU to invite all your Irish friends and family, everywhere in the world, to join in, and get a decent future happening [at last] for our children. Thanks for reading this and you know what to do….. !!!