2017-06-01 / Letters to the Editor

Banning plastic bags has other global ramifications

To the editor:

The town council is considering whether to ban plastic bags as has been done in other bay-area communities.

On the surface, this would seem to be a fairly simple matter: It’s clear that plastic bags are harmful to marine life so who in their right mind would be against banning them?

However, we live in a complicated, interconnected world and many “simple” decisions have unintended consequences so let’s look at this logically. If we ban plastic bags, that means more paper bags will be used and that means more trees will be cut down and that means we will be contributing to global warming because trees suck up carbon dioxide and release oxygen. So, it is clear that banning plastic bags will contribute to global warming even though the effects on each will be minimal.

Banning plastic bags in Jamestown will only make a small contribution to saving marine life because this is an environmentally conscious community and few Jamestowners would knowingly release plastic bags into the environment. The increase in using paper bags, of course, would make only a small contribution to global warming. However, as the council debates this issue, they need to keep in mind the link that banning plastic bags has, indeed, a causal relationship with global warming.

This council already has burdened the residents with heavy-handed regulations on several issues, such as firing ranges. Perhaps it’s time to take a breath and see if there are other approaches, such as education about bringing your own bag to the store, that can reduce the use of both plastic and paper bags so that we are not harmed by unintended consequences.

Gerry Bay
Newport Street

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