Plastic-bag ban is a major step toward cleaner environment

To the Editor: Recently Rhode Island saw a promising step for Narragansett Bay when Rep. Maria Cimini introduced a bill in the R.I. House of Representatives to ban disposable plastic shopping bags in the state. More

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OP-ED/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Plastic-bag ban is a major step toward cleaner environment

Posted 2/25/13

To the Editor:

Recently Rhode Island saw a promising step for Narragansett Bay when Rep. Maria Cimini introduced a bill in the R.I. House of Representatives to ban disposable plastic shopping bags in the state.

The plastics industry and other special interests have been pulling out the expected arguments: plastic bags do negligible harm, or Rhode Island shoppers prefer them to other alternatives.

Apparently, the plastics industry has not been out talking to people in Rhode Island neighborhoods. If it had been, it would know that Rhode Islanders see banning plastic bags as a sensible step on behalf of Narragansett Bay.

In addition, those opposed to the ban apparently have not been participating in coastal cleanups, either. If they had been, they would know that plastic bags are a primary type of marine litter in Rhode Island.

Every year Rhode Islanders use hundreds of millions of these bags, which are a major source of debris that both litters our parks and neighborhoods, and threaten Narragansett Bay and its wildlife. Fortunately, Rhode Island can take concrete action now to eliminate this source of plastic pollution by requiring recycled paper or reusable bags to be used by customers at checkout.

Banning plastic bags in an effective, common-sense policy that can make the Ocean State a leader for the oceans, Narragansett Bay and coastal areas.

Vanessa Labrador

Environment Rhode Island intern

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