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Plastic-free campaign

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By Park Moo-jong

Just 19 years ago in 1999, there was a unique government-led campaign to put a stop to the then unchecked use of plastic bags and other one-time-use items such as disposal cups, dishes and wooden chopsticks.

The then Kim Dae-jung administration (1998-2003) rolled up its sleeves to help prevent our national soil from being contaminated by these objects that do not decay for centuries.

In some aspects, the Republic of Korea was somewhat of a leader in the world at that time in discouraging the use of such items that do not decompose for a long, long time.

The government was resolute enough to ban the use of such disposables and prohibited almost all stores from providing plastic and coated paper shopping bags to their customers free of charge.

Called "vinyl envelopes" here, plastic bags that replaced the traditional brown grocery bags across the world a long time ago, have been used with little consideration for the future of our environment just for their convenience and low cost.

It is teaching grandma to "suck eggs" to explain to somebody that plastic is an undisputed modern convenience that has greatly changed mankind's way of life.

The Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture defines: Plastic is a light artificial material produced chemically that can be made into different shapes when soft, keeps its shape when hard, and is commonly........

© The Korea Times