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Letter: Plastic Bags are an Ocean State Eyesore

Joseph Cala, of Environment Rhode Island, urges banning plastic shopping bags.

Dear Editor,

With the State of Rhode Island boasting hundreds of miles of coastline and thousands of acres of public and state parks, the beauty of our environment is a precious resource to everyone in the Ocean State; protecting it should be a top priority.

However, our state's natural beauty is threatened by plastic waste that gets into our waterways, parks, yards, and roadsides, and that clogs our landfills; with the help of plastic, the Johnston landfill is now the highest point in the state.

Far too much of this trash comes from an unnecessary product used for just five minutes before being thrown away: disposable plastic grocery bags that threaten to take hundreds to thousands of years to photo-degrade.

Nothing we use for just a few minutes should tarnish our state and pollute our treasured natural places. Luckily, the solution is simple: ban plastic bags.

This movement is gaining exciting momentum around the country, and it’s time for the Ocean State to protect its environment and join the effort. Towns like Middletown can lead the way by enacting bag ban ordinances.

Sincerely,

Joseph Cala
joseph_cala@my.uri.edu
Environment Rhode Island

Environment Rhode Island is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy group.

wayne craft February 07, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Banning plastic bags and instituting a deposit program on bottles would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Garrett Tucker February 08, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I love the idea of being a greener state and agree that plastic bags are an unnecessary waste. I myself try to use cloth bags whenever possible. I believe this is not an issue for any government to mandate rules, including local government. Banning or outlawing a product, even for a good cause, is not the solution. I don't think we need a law built around plastic bags. This is more of an educational subject. Teaching and encouraging people/business to use reusable cloth bags is the right way to go. The more educated people are, the more likely they will make correct decisions. When people come to the knowledge of why avoiding plastic bags is the right thing to do for the right reason, and they see a benefit...they'll do it. If you start mandating laws to ban certain products (like plastic bags) its almost like socialism in the way that your telling people what to buy (because now they will be forced to purchase cloth bags) therefore taking away their agency. Aldi Supermarkets are a great example. Instead of banning plastic bags, they charge for them. This encourages shoppers to bring in cloth bags, thus helping the environment. If the bigger grocery stores did the same thing...we'd see a cleaner Connecticut without government intervention.

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