The war on plastic shopping bags handed out by supermarkets and shops has been raging for some time in the UK and now Fethiye is joining the battle.

Plastic bags are bad for the environment so we are told. But what do they mean?

Reducing the number of plastic bags produced doesn’t have much of an impact on CO2 reduction but it does in other areas of the environment. Using less plastic bags should result in a reduction in the amount of litter some of which blows into the sea. Some sources believe that as many as 100,000 marine mammals such as turtles die each year from eating the bags that get to into the sea.

In the UK the average person used to take home some 290 plastic shopping bags a year. That figure has reduced dramatically since awareness of the environmental issues was raised and the popular supermarkets started to either reward people for not taking bags or charging for them if they did.

No figures for the use of plastic bags exist in Fethiye but, based on what we see in the shops, their use is likely to be higher. Nearly every shop will wrap or offer plastic bags for the goods you have bought even if you already have a bag. It almost seems as if a plastic bag is part of the deal.

Bags for Life

Well the good news is that Fethiye is now finally recognising the problem.

Recently we have been given ‘eco bags’ from two different sources.

Firstly the eco-exhibition held towards the end of last month gave away bags featuring the exhibition’s title and all the sponsors’ logos. We have no idea what material was used to make these bags but, not only does it feel decidedly unnatural, but the bag is certainly not made for carrying anything weighty.  The message on the bags was weighty enough though – “Waste is killing us yet we produce more of it that anything else”.

Then, last week, the Fethiye Lions Club produced their version of the ‘eco bag’ as a give away to everyone taking part in the recent Golden Dice Backgammon tournament. This bag is definitely stronger and seems to be made of a natural fabric (if only the handles were longer so it could carried over the shoulder). However their slogan ‘NO to plastic bags’ gets full marks.

Supermarkets Join In Too

The supermarkets are also trying to change consumer habits. The Migros supermarket now only supplies free shopping bags that are bio degradable. They also offer a practical reusable shopping bag for around 1.50 TL. Unfortunately the bags are not next to the checkout, the natural place to put them, but hidden away near the clothing/electrical sections.

Loud & Clear

But despite the design flaws of some of the bags it’s good to see the message is getting through. Who knows – in the next year maybe some enterprising soul will produce a practical, cheap Fethiye branded bag. If adopted as a good idea by the public not only could this reduce the number of bags discarded and potentially reduce the number of marine mammal deaths, but it could also promote Fethiye as an eco place to visit.

If you have other versions of local ‘eco bags’ please let us know – and send a photo of the bag in question.