It is heartening to see young people leading the way in a megalopolis like Tokyo (“Living in Japan during a time of climate crisis” in the Jan. 13 edition).

However, awareness is still lacking in the rural hinterlands. Here in Gamagori, shop assistants at supermarkets and drugstores literally shove plastic bags in the hands of customers. And for the few people like me who refuse such gestures of “benevolence,” the shop assistants are bewildered and force one to take the plastic bags all the same.

This problem probably arises because plastic bags come in both free and paid versions. Also, it is easier to put all the purchased goods in a plastic bag rather than stick tape labels on each of them.

However, most people seem to ask for plastic bags even when they have to pay for them because it hardly singes one’s pocket, let alone burn a hole in it.

So, the only solutions to spread awareness are to simultaneously sell durable shopping bags and raise the price of the plastic bags significantly so that people will think twice before asking for them.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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