I read with interest two letters to the editor on Jan. 6 urging the city of Waterville to ban plastic bags. This movement started in the southern part of the state and now encompasses 12 of our state’s towns. To be fair to individual merchants, it is best to impose a ban on an area, as otherwise shoppers might choose to shop where “free” bags are given out over a store where there was a fee for bags.

The issue here seems to be convenience and we as a society are used to convenient lives. Unfortunately, the pristine nature of our state is in jeopardy. Roads lined with trees festooned with plastic bags are not going to support our efforts to remain “Vacationland.” And, plastic ending up in the Gulf of Maine will not support our seafood industry. Even phytoplankton are ingesting particles of plastic, so it is no wonder that right whales are dying in record numbers and in danger of becoming extinct. The Ocean Institute and the Bigelow Labs are conducting experiments all over our “pristine” Gulf and finding these discouraging results.

Are we ready to forgo a bit of convenience to cut down on petroleum use and clean up our state? Carrying a canvas tote while shopping seems to be a small inconvenience. I watched the checkout guy bag every other item for the person ahead of me in express checkout. Ten items were bagged in five plastic bags. These bags are only used for about 12 minutes. Some of us reuse these bags to clean up after our dogs, but the poor mutts would have to have severe intestinal problems to keep up with all the bags coming out of our stores.

Let’s consider the world we are leaving behind for our grandchildren and ban plastic bags.

Rob Pfeiffer

Solon

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