In recent months Bahrain's bloggers have been turning more and more to environmental issues, and one group of bloggers have even started a campaign to raise awareness about the environmental damage caused by plastic bags.
We start, however, with Mohammed AlMaskati, who a while back expressed disbelief after hearing a minister say that the environment was a priority for the government:
The WHO?!.. Environment? In Bahrain?! … Dare I remind you sir that Bahrain has the sixth highest level of carbon dioxide emissions in the world? Dare I remind you that our beaches literally serve as “litter bins” and are practically unsafe to even walk on? … I honestly don’t understand how any Bahraini official could even talk about environmental protection issues given the miserable situation of the country…
Lizardo is worried about the rise in temperature:
I did a kind of a study for school before and found that with this rate of temperature increase we are in two hundred years losing 10% of our islands area due to sea level rise, which with simple little math equal an area of Manama and Muharraq together!
A group of bloggers decided to use their blogs to help raise awareness about plastic bags, and started a campaign in January. Writer and blogger Deonna Kelli Sayed interviewed Sayed Aqa, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain, because the 2007-2008 UN Human Development Report was on climate change:
Deonna Kelli Sayed: What are some of the main challenges to Bahrain’s environment?
Sayed Aqa: As a small island state, sea level rise as a result of climate change will be a major challenge for the development and economy of Bahrain. Therefore, coastal area management as well as fresh water scarcity are major issues. Per capita, Bahrain has one of the highest rates of carbon emissions in the world, mainly from the energy sector. Scientists have agreed that if we don’t address these issues within the next few years, our planet will face catastrophic disasters that will affect our survival, particularly in countries like Bahrain.
DKS: What about plastic bags?
SA: Plastic bags are non-biodegradable. Therefore, their negative environmental impact is long lasting. Switching to cloth bags is something everyone can do without compromising much. This also is the most effective way of creating public awareness, as every one will get involved and people will have to make decisions on a daily basis NOT to use plastic bags. It is a constant reminder with a very positive contribution.
A number of supermarkets have recently introduced reusable bags, and announced they will soon be charging customers for plastic bags; Yagoob is pleased to hear it:
Another blogger, Maldita, is also happy at the supermarkets’ move:
I have started using the jute bags and they are adorable. I feel strangely proud bringing my jute shopping bag with me as I walk through the hypermarket entrance. It’s practically easy to pack groceries with more space and being and more durable. What more, it is easy to lug around instead of those small plastic bags. Just sling them over your shoulder if you really don’t have enough loads that require use of the trolleys.
Hubby has complained that now we can’t use those bags as trash bags anymore. Yes we do our part of recycling the plastics but it isn’t enough. I patiently told him that the earth is there giving us what we she can offer. Yet, think of it, what about our children’s children? Will she have enough to give the same? I already talked my friends and everyone I know to make use of the bags and contribute to the effort of saving our planet. If you are in Bahrain, please grab one when you do your groceries!
We end with Mahmood, who was pleased to tell us recently about Bahrain's first Farmers’ Market:
It is very much hoped that this event will become a regular seasonal market with facilities that will promote local seasonal produce and handicrafts, enshrining the concepts of “buy local” and of course cutting the greenhouse gases at the same time. This is local produce with all the goodness of being picked fresh and consumed fresh with no frozen, shrink-wrapped pseudo-green things in sight!