A plastic bag charge and ban are just the first steps

Our readers have their say on Israeli elections, pollution and unrest in Libya

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , April 4 – 2019 :- Left to Right – Winnie Vilander and Chonay Louw holding their plastic bags after doing shopping at the Spinneys  supermarket in Dubai Marina in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News. Story by Patrick
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I write in reference to your article Dubai shoppers call for plastic bag charge (April 6): as an 18-year-old student, I am more concerned than ever about our environmental situation and especially about plastic pollution. A plastic bag charge should not only be under consideration, it should have been introduced years ago. In this day and age, I would rather see a law that bans the usage of plastic bags. New Zealand, for example, has banned plastic bags entirely and sets a great precedent for such a law. Alternatives to plastic are paper bags or banana leaves like Thailand and Vietnam. I recently read that a Thai grocery store is using banana leaves instead of plastic to package fruit and vegetables. This should be an example for every government that it is not impossible to ban plastic bags or plastic packaging. However, there are other variables that play a key role in how efficient and environmentally friendly paper bags are. Among other factors is how often we actually reuse the bag. Therefore, a plastic bag ban should exist but there must be a shift in the way people think. Bags should not only be used once but several times.

Charlotte Hoppe, Germany

No one can predict who will win the Israeli elections

I write to you in reference to Miriam Berger's article Divided Israeli electorate denies Benjamin Netanyahu clear win (April 10). This was a good read that helped me understand the Israeli elections.

Even though the winner, Benjamin Netanyahu, is unpleasant in his approach to the Palestinians, he has made use of his charisma and smooth talking to secure international backing. It is remarkable that he has secured a record fifth term this time around, as allegations of corruption and cronyism have weighed on him and his wife.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

After Gaddafi’s despotic rule, Libyans get no respite

I write to you in reference to Raghida Dergham's article Libya's future is caught between diplomacy and a military solution (April 6). Muammar Qaddafi was a ruthless and crooked leader who ruled Libya with an iron fist. But the nation remains deeply troubled. I am saddened to see that the Libyan conflict has been allowed to endure in the absence of a political solution.

Civilians are caught between the corrupt yet internationally recognised government of Fayez Al Sarraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. American intervention did not help Libyans in 2011, just as it did not help Iraqis back in 2003. The US would be better off intervening in countries that have been accused of conducting ethnic cleansing, such as Myanmar.

Nazim Hasan Khan, India