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Queens Chronicle

The plastic bag problem

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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 1:06 pm, Thu Apr 10, 2014.

Dear Editor:

I am compelled to respond to your editorial entitled “Many questions on dime-a-bag bill,” published in your edition of March 27.

All of your questions concerning the bill could be easily addressed by people simply returning to the way of shoppers for most of human history. That way would be bringing your own reusable bags with you on your shopping trips.

If throwaway plastic bags would have a price attached to them, albeit a minimal one at only 10 cents, they suddenly would become an economic good with value. Maybe more people would hold onto them, and fewer would end up suspended in trees. Or better yet, shoppers would go back to their own reusable bags, avoiding the charge altogether.

Furthermore, I do not know what the editorial writer is carrying in his or her reusable canvas or heavy plastic bags, but I have no idea how “dangerous parasites” can develop in them and somehow infect the food carried in them. I have been using cloth tote bags for years to carry groceries, and, yes, I do have to occasionally throw them in the washing machine. But “dangerous parasites” have not been a problem for me.

What is a very real problem is all the throwaway, one-time-use plastic bags blowing in the wind and being the litter that never says goodbye because it never decays. Many of these bags end up polluting water bodies, being ingested by marine animals. The storm surge of Sandy gave us an idea of how many plastic bags are in the harbor by lifting them up and hanging them in trees. One can still see these bags, brought by Sandy, suspended in trees along Little Neck Bay in Bayside.

I hope you will agree that shoppers need an economic signal that wasteful throwaway plastic bags can easily be replaced with their own reusable canvas or heavy plastic bags.

Dana F. Gumb

Welcome to the discussion.