Sunday, May 13, 2007

Andy Ho. Synonymous with idiot.

Andy Ho, senior writer in The Straits Times, is an idiot. Time and time again, he's proven to be:

1) The Government's bitch when it comes down to politics.
2) Ignorant and misinformed when it comes down to everything else.

Which might be indicative of the quality of the mindless drivel writing in The Straits Times. Here's his latest gem:

"Research in several countries shows that the main problem with plastic bags is not their environmental impact per se but littering. They are so light that plastic bags can easily become windblown litter.

But littering is generally not a problem here. In countries where it is, discouraging their use might be justifiable. For instance, in South Africa, its Environment Minister (only half in jest) called the plastic bag his country's national flower: It can be seen snagged on trees and hedgerows, fluttering along road fences and bushes, littering school yards, polluting rivers and so on.

The other morning, I drove up and down Mandai Road out in the suburbs and counted all of four stray plastic bags. In the afternoon, I counted just one in the Toa Payoh streets around The Straits Times office."

A little simplistic perhaps. If one were to actually research this topic, one would actually come across the actual problem with plastic bags and that is disposal. I LOVE the fact that this Senior Writer's doing exactly what I tell my own students not to do when trying to bring up evidence and that is personal anecdotes.

Fail lah.

Next, he addresses the ideas of landfills in Singapore:

"What about the fact that plastic bags choke up landfills since they are not biodegradable? Singapore has just one landfill left at Semakau island. This accepts only ash from the four incineration plants (at Ulu Pandan, Tuas, Senoko and Tuas South) as well as trash that cannot be incinerated, like construction and demolition waste. Thus, plastic bags don't appear at Semakau anyway.

Instead, they are incinerated just as 91 per cent of the 2.56 million tonnes of waste generated last year were. During incineration, energy is (re)captured as heat which is then used to boil water to produce steam which drives turbines to generate electricity."

Yeah...let's burn our plastics...It produces energy for us. Except...Didn't our secondary school teachers tell us that when you burn plastics, you're actually releasing poisonous gases into the environment?


That and the fact that said ash from the burning of plastics tend to produce toxic ash, one might question the environmental non-impact of burning plastics.

I also love the little sprinkles of style that he injects into his fictional diatribe argument like

"Some supermarkets in Singapore have taken to asking you to 'donate' 10 cents for every plastic bag you use when shopping on the first Wednesday of every month. The aim is to get consumers to reduce the use of plastic bags due to their environmental impact.

However, the move is like a regressive tax that hurts the poor much more than the rich. More importantly, is it really necessary?"


"Of course, more could be done to encourage people to adopt the reusable plastic bag. Yes, the affluent could choose to blow US$960 (S$1,400) on a Hermes fold-up shopping bag. The rest of us just need to be reminded not to litter with the plastic bag."

The first stylistic icing is discourse aimed at all the "bleeding hearted liberals" who are the ones kicking up all the fuss to begin with. And the second is a false dilemma that Ho creates.

For the first, I can simply say that he's a conservative writer and this article is lashing out at the "bleeding heart liberals" that are trying to aid the environment. I mean, the environment really isn't on the forefront of right wing types. Excusable? Yes. Idiot? Definitely.

For the second, there's no excuse. Yes, it's going to cost more to preserve the environment. But it's not prohibitively expensive. Such idiotic proclamations really do not help the us in any way. In fact, it lulls us into a dangerous complacency.

And that, perhaps, is the most insidious aspect of his article. Andy Ho's claiming that we're not really at fault for all this environmental damage. That it's happening, sure, but we in Singapore really aren't part of the problem. And that's the attitude we've got here in Singapore. We're going to accept that there is a problem but we're not the ones who have to fix it.

Well, guess what? We are the problem. And we need to fix that. And if it means that we've got to make people realise that plastics aren't good for the environment, let's do that.

Because if nothing else, it's a good start.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Singapore...since the 60s when I was born we have always reused the plastic bags to bag our refuse. So if the supermarkets etc
did not give out plastic bags, it means we have to buy them separately. Maybe its different in the richer countries where you probably buy trash can liners or trash bags separately as a product.
But most SGP homes don't use these products on a daily basis. Things are not so straightforward like the bottled mineral water debate. There are 2 aspects. bottled Mineral water as a water bottled mineral water vs SGP tap water and
aspect 2...mineral water as a beverage alternative. ie bottled mineral water vs bottled Coke, bottled fruit juice, soya bean.
In SGP again, most of the time mineral water is used as a beverage its healthier and cheaper than bottled Coke, Pepsi, Fruit sugar, coloring etc
By all means let's be green....but let's be more thoughtful going about it and less angry.

Sat Oct 03, 02:28:00 pm 2009  

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