Aaagh! I’m going to die!

Well, yes. Mondays are like that.

No. I’m going to die because of a plastic bag.

The instructions specifically say there is a risk of suffocation if you put it over your head.

No. There is so much toxic plastic swashing around that most of the fish in the Thames have plastic in their guts. People swim in the Thames.

If you swim in the Thames there’s a good chance you have a metal plate in your head so I don’t suspect a casually discarded Ziplock is going to make much of a difference.

Volunteers help clean the banks of the Thames for the cleanaway project.

You have to listen. This is urgent. There is a massive garbage island made up mostly of plastic just swashing around the ocean.


You are not taking this seriously. Unlike the Government which today has slapped 5p tax on a plastic bag.

5p to save the world seems cheap. I was assured we were looking at trillions and a return to cave dwelling and analogue TV.

5p a bag. And what with your focaccia bread, truffle oil and family-sized Cheerios you’re looking at 25p a week.

And this works does it? Charging people?

It’s not about charging people. It’s the opposite of that. It’s about persuading people not to use plastic bags – to bring their own. In Wales the number of bags handed out by retailers fell by 79% in three years after a levy was imposed.

And everyone has to do this do they? Even down at the Taj Mahal? I really don’t fancy carrying my lamb rogan josh, pilau and naan bread in a home-made hemp stocking.

Retailers with 250 or more employees will have to charge. The Government expects the scheme to cut the use of single-use carrier bags by up to 80% in supermarkets, and 50% on the high street.

And why does my 5p go to? The ickle polar bears?

It’s likely to raise £730million for good causes and expected to save save £60 million in litter clean-up costs.

And people like this do they? They haven’t taken to the streets refusing to wash, looking unkempt and swearing, like those chaps at the Cereal Killer Cafe.

You mean Class War.

No, the customers. Answer the question.

62% of shoppers think it is reasonable. In fact, public opinion wants to go further. 51% were in support of a scheme that covered all retailers.

There’s the recession, right there.

Friends of the Earth’s senior resources campaigner David Powell says: “In Wales, 90% of businesses, both large and small, said that a 5p charge hasn’t impacted on their trade.”

You seem to know all about this. Give me more.

In England, the number of single-use bags given out by major supermarkets reached more than 7.6 billion last year – the equivalent of 140 per person and 61,000 tonnes in total. Five trillion plastic bags are produced yearly. Side by side, they can encircle the world seven times.

This is alarming stuff. Go on. I need to impress my pub quiz team.

Plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and will only fully degrade in 1,000 years. This means that all the plastic that has ever been produced has not degraded yet. Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.

And you think ultimately the world will come to its senses and start doing something about this environmental catastrophe.

I’m not holding my breath.

You really should. There really isn’t much oxygen left in that bag.