Some months back, one of the island’s (and country’s) major super-market chains stopped providing plastic bags to customers, even for the small charge that the government made mandatory a few years ago, and instead offered reuseable bags for sale (they have since started offering paper bags as alternatives). I have forgotten to take mine with me a number of times but fully support the concept so now own three, and try to use them for all my shopping. I was encouraged last week, when in a rival store that still provides plastic bags, to see many shoppers with reusable bags or utilizing cardboard boxes to tote their purchases home.
Our environment, and the need to care for it, has long been a topic of concern in The Jeju Weekly office, and even more so of late. To commemorate the third anniversary of the island’s listing on UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage Sites early this month, publisher Song Jung Hee took part in a KBS panel to discuss how best to manage and preserve Jeju’s geological treasures. Jeju also hosts ministers of health and environment from Southeast and East Asian countries this week in a forum addressing environ-mental health issue. Closer to home, Australian teacher Sherrin Hibbard continues to prepare for her attempt to swim around Jeju in order to raise environmental awareness, specifically that individual choices impact on our environment in fundamental ways.
So to see so many individuals making the choice not to use plastic supermarket bags is both positive and heartening, and is just one of many small changes we can make to actively care for the earth and sea from which we get sustenance and life. Another is to not only not throw trash on the streets or in the sea ourselves but to educate others - be they our families, students, friends or neighbors - not to do so either. Especially our students and children, as it is vital they learn to care for the planet they will inherit. Please, think again before saying yes to that plastic bag offered at the store or dropping litter on the streets, and think of where it will eventually end up. This planet, and this island for those of us lucky enough to live here, is our home – let’s treat it accordingly.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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Registration Number: Jeju Da 01093 | Date of Registration: November 20, 2008 | Publisher: Hee Tak Ko | Youth policy: Hee Tak Ko
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without the prior consent of jeju weekly.com.