I read with keen interest Dan Libby’s Community Compass column on “people control” (“Proposed Waterville bag ban is ‘people control,'” Feb. 28). I wonder if he has lived in Maine long enough to remember the huge debate statewide over the “bottle bill.” Roadsides were littered with empty bottles before a law was put in place to put a deposit on empties so as to incentivize the pickup. Now, we have businesses employing many people recycling bottles that otherwise would be littering our roadways. Empty bottles and plastic of all sorts is a horrendous gift for us to leave our children and our grandchildren, and, since plastics do not break down, today’s youngsters will have to deal with massive amounts of trash to make room to live.

As a resident of Maine most of my life, I agree with Libby that government control is annoying at best and an infringement on our liberties at worst. But are we going to allow the minority who discard plastic everywhere to despoil our vacationland and ruin our major industry, which is tourism? And are we concerned that our seafood is now full of plastic, as 117 particles of plastic are suspended in every liter of Gulf of Maine water? That is an average. Even the phyto plankton are ingesting plastic so it is no wonder that the whales are dying.

My question for Libby is this: Do we, recognizing that a segment of society cannot be bothered with proper disposal of plastic bags, inconvenience ourselves by carrying a canvas tote in and out of the grocery store? The children are watching us as we debate this issue, as their future is hanging in the balance.

Also, my 10-year-old canvas tote is now part of my right arm, and I get some exercise out of shopping.

Rob Pfeiffer


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