KUCHING: It may seem like a mammoth task to convince the general public to refrain from using plastics, especially hypermarket shopping bags – but former petroleum engineering consultant Ian M Carter is taking the bull by the horns.
In the style of a one-man NGO, Carter is on the beat at supermarkets with a mission on his hands that decrees; “Say no to plastics, bring your own shopping bag.”
Last weekend, The Borneo Post spotted him at the Kuching Sentral shopping mall where he was seen talking to the shopping crowd on the harm that plastics could cause to one’s health and more importantly, to the environment at large.
Carter has registered a fraternity called Go Go Green with the Registrar of Societies and for the last few years he has been setting up booths at shopping malls with his co-campaigners Chin Chin and Bella, advocating the downside of plastic usage.
His campaign materials include self-created posters depicting caricatures and simple messages which he puts up at his booth. He also issues a bulletin handout, GreeNews, giving information on the environment, tips on recycling and re-using common materials found at home.
Beyond this, Carter even distributes environmental-friendly shopping bags made of cloth for free to anyone who would lend him a ear. Each bag is produced at a cost RM1.20. But why would this former native of North Wales who has now made Sarawak his home take on this noble vocation?
“God gave us this world, not only to enjoy its fruits but also to care for it. We are called to be good stewards and therefore it is everybody’s duty to do his or her bit for the environment,” says Carter who turns 70 next month.
Carter says, there are many ways for one to help alleviate the impact of global warming and the systemic degradation of the planet, and he has chosen to be a campaigner against the wanton use of plastics and plastic materials. Having left the petroleum industry and coming ashore since 1991, Carter says, he has a good understanding of the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.
“The world environment is at peril and there are many reasons for this. Apart from the impact of wanton human activity on the land and the water masses, the large scale usage of plastics and their improper disposal is another major contributor for the elevation of green house gases that directly or indirectly contribute to global warming and extremes in weather conditions,” says Carter.
Asked how effective is his campaign in creating a strong public mindset to discourage the use of plastics and plastic shopping bags, he says, he tries to talk to as many people as possible.
“The idea is to create awareness. There are people who listen and those that are compliant to what Go Go Green advocates. We may not see results immediately, but we have to get started somewhere at sometime. And we begin in our own little corner of the world first and keep at it, he says philosophically, echoing the sentiments of the late Mother Teresa who once said: “You cannot feed the whole world, but find the ‘Calcutta’ in your own neighbourhood and feed just one.”
Carter can be contacted at email@example.com