2013-10-17 / Letters to the Editor

Plastic bags continue to damage ecosystem

In the recent session of the General Assembly, a bill was introduced to make Rhode Island the first state to ban plastic bags. Plastic bags that wind up in Narragansett Bay and off our coast damage marine ecosystems. Plastic film in the water chokes wildlife like sea turtles, whales and birds that confuse it for food. While plastic never biodegrades, it breaks into increasingly small fragments over time, potentially threatening fish and shellfish that ingest these tiny plastic bits, putting the entire marine food chain at risk.

In the Ocean State, our marine ecosystems are essential to our way of life, but they are fragile, and plastic is threatening the bay, the ocean and the wildlife that we treasure and depend on. If we can cut one of the largest sources of plastic in our waters (grocery bags), we can take an important step toward addressing the problem.

I urge Sen. President Paiva Weed to commit now to supporting the plastic bag ban in the upcoming General Assembly session. Rhode Island can be a leader on this issue.

Christina Johantgen
Environment Rhode Island

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