, Gloucester, MA

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February 16, 2013

Letter: The dogged impact of a plastic bag law

To the editor:

This morning I enjoyed a nice walk on Singing Beach. The sun was shining, people were in good spirits, and dogs ran free.

Occasionally, I would witness one of these animals go to the bathroom, and their owners quickly pick up the waste with a plastic bag. In fact, at the entrance to the beach, there is a “community” plastic bag box where folks bring extras in the event you forgot your own. The sense of community is strong, and the dog community on Singing Beach is even stronger.

When I returned home and read the article concerning the elimination of plastic bags in Manchester (the Times, Page 1, Wednesday, Feb. 13) , the first thing that came to mind was this wonderful dog community. With no bags to pick up waste, will we be forced to close the beach to dogs year round?

What about visitors to our town who bring bags from surrounding communities, will they be ticketed or incarcerated for breaking the plastic bag law?

I can already foresee a plastic bag black market where bags are brought in from Gloucester and Beverly in the dead of night and re-sold out of the back of a windowless van. I do not believe anyone wants this type of illegal activity to take place in our lovely town, potentially corrupting our most precious assets — the children.

With respect to using plastic bags to pick up waste, I am told that dog owners can purchase biodegradable bags. While some within the dog community may be able to take on this added expense, others may not. Are we suggesting that only the 1 percent will be able to have dogs because only they will be able to afford the added cost of bags?

We have already borne witness to a Wall Street meltdown, housing and banking crisis, mooring injustice, and political maleficence from both parties. We have come too far, and worked too hard to allow the 1% to control our love of beach and dog.

Retaining plastic bags in Manchester is about retaining “your” right to walk “your” dog and pick up waste regardless of wealth, party, or pedigree.


Mark Street, Manchester

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