Letter: Plastic bags are an environmental issue

TO THE EDITOR:

It’s time to take plastic bags out of supermarkets. Numerous cities across the United States and even the entire state of California have voted to ban plastic bags in local stores, and North Carolina should follow suit. 

Plastic bags are a serious environmental issue, and are a major contributor to ocean pollution. Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean. According to plasticpollution.org, that’s about five grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world, and it’s easily avoidable. 

In November 2016, California voted to ban plastic bags for large retail- ers. Customers bring their own reusable shopping bags or pay a ten cent charge for paper bags. Many other cities have adopted bans, including Washington D.C., Chicago and the Outer Banks. 

Though not all bans
are as strict, they are certainly effective. San Jose, California found an 89 percent reduction of plastic litter in the storm drain system after instituting their 2011 plastic bag ban. 

In cities that ban plastic bags, or at least take steps to reduce plastic usage, customers are far more likely to carry their own reusable bags. In Thurston County, Washington, the plastic bag ban reduced single-use bag usage from 63 percent to 3 percent in only six months. 

Chapel Hill could benefit greatly from taking this small step to reduce waste and save the environment. 

Erin Danford 

Junior Environmental Science 

Thanks for reading.

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