GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

March 21, 2013

Letter: Plastic bag bans are proven successes

To the editor,

Manchester is the latest Massachusetts community to consider a ban on single use plastic bags.

Such campaigns have not only been sweeping our small state of Massachusetts, but have been sweeping the world.

Banning single use plastic bags only makes sense in a community that is so connected to the ocean it’s named Manchester-by-the-Sea. There are more than 100 million pounds of plastic in our oceans today. This plastic pollution risks the lives of countless marine creatures including leatherback sea turtles that spend their summers in the Massachusetts Bay. In the face of such a massive problem, single-use plastic bags are not a plastic source that we can justify any longer.

Bans on plastic bags have been successful. In less than eight weeks since plastic bags were banned in Hawaii, 80 percent of shoppers have begun using reusable bags — up from 13 percent prior to the ban. Even a tax on plastic bags reduced plastic bag usage in Ireland by 90 percent, and a nationwide ban of plastic bags in China is estimated to save the nation 37 barrels of oil.

A ban in Manchester could result in approximately 1.5 million fewer plastic bags used next year. I encourage Manchester residents to combat ocean pollution and vote to ban single use plastic bags at the April 1 Annual Town Meeting.

CHELSEA VERRIA

Long Avenue, Boston

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