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Betsy’s Corner: More News on Plastic Pollution, Bag Ban

I just read an article titled “Plastic Bags Get the Boot!” Boston is banning single use plastic bags! I am thrilled! Longmeadow, Boston and over 75 other Massachusetts Communities are banning those nasty single use plastic bags. Northampton banned single use plastic bags on January 1, 2016.

Amherst’s plastic bag ban went into effect on January 1, 2017. They clog our oceans, hurt the environment and do not degrade. These bags are typically made of synthetic polyethylene. Petroleum and natural gas products are needed to create these long lasting bags and the energy to produce them destroys the ozone layer and contributes to climate change! It’s great if they get recycled or reused as doggie bags, garbage liners or as waste bags but the majority of the bags do not get reused. We use too much plastic and it has got to stop soon! Recently, an article in this paper spoke up against our new local bylaw but did not cite sources for the misinformation within the editorial article. Wake up people! This is important!

I am sick and tired of seeing plastic garbage on the side of the road and inside our parks. Do you know about the garbage floating in the seas and oceans in our Mother Earth? A whale recently died with pounds of plastic inside his stomach! The Town of Longmeadow voted to ban single use plastic bags at the May 8 Town Meeting. Kathy LaBella added this item to the warrants agenda by a citizen’s petition. It will go into effect later this year if possible. Longmeadow has not worked out all the details yet. Longmeadow has become the most recent town in Massachusetts to ban this type of plastic use. If you really think about it, it is simply a small step forward and certainly the right thing to do! Customers are bringing their own cloth bags to the grocery store, and leaving extra bags in their cars to use when needed. Watch the upcoming select board meetings to see how our local plans develop. In Boston shoppers not bringing their own bags will get paper bags with handles or a compostable plastic bag. Some communities charge for special bags.

“This new ordinance protects the health of our neighborhoods and environment, while at the same time easing the burden of taxpayers an saving local retailers millions,” said Kirstie Pecci, Director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Zero Waste Project. As a state, it has been proposed in the senate but is still being discussed in a committee. The process is slow. Massachusetts is actually behind. Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California along with our nation’s capital Washington, D.C. which have already banned such bags. Communities across the planet are waking up to these environmental threats. It is time to think about using less plastic in packaging and in our homes.

Every time I shop I see fresh vegetables and fruits wrapped in plastic. All kinds of foods are packaged and shipped inside poisonous packaging. Where does this plastic end up? Our landfills and dumps are full of plastic products that will never dissolve and go away! Think of the dangers ahead if the whole world continues to use this dangerous packaging. Our children and our children’s children will thank you for helping think of alternatives to plastic. Inform yourself on this important issue and fight pollution in our town. If you see plastic in our parks – pick up, clean up and throw away your items in garbage containers not on the ground!

– By Betsy Huber Port