To the editor:
The town of Manchester’s proposal to outlaw the use of plastic bags is a step in the right direction to effectively decrease pollution caused by manmade products.
As an environmental health student at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, I have learned that decreasing the impact humans have on the environment is of vital importance for the health of future generations. Most plastic bags are made from petroleum-based material that is non-biodegradable; negatively impacting wildlife, ecosystems and can contaminate soil and water when broken down into tiny particles. Plastic bags can also end up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to photo-degrade. Photo-degradation of plastic bags impacts the environment by releasing each bag’s ingredients into the atmosphere.
Plastic bags are not a necessity, but rather a convenience for consumers, to carry products they purchased. Banning plastic bags is an initial step toward reducing environmental impacts, but additional regulations should be adopted by the local legislation to help minimize the effects we have on the environment. For instance, mandating recycling and composting would help divert reusable material from landfills and help decrease the amount of pollution each town and city produces every year.
Other towns in the North Shore should follow Manchester’s attempt to ban plastic bags as a basis to figure out ways each town can decrease their environmental impact. Addressing these issues is vital for future generations to live in a healthier and cleaner society.