A recent letter questioned whether a ban on single-use plastics would be helpful to the environment. Its writer instead urges using existing recycling facilities.
In fact, studies show only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled. Many of the rest litter our lands and oceans. They are used on the average for 12 minutes while it takes 500 years to break them down. Plastics account for 80 percent of ocean pollution and World Watch reports at least 267 species of ocean wildlife are affected by it. One in three leatherback turtles have plastics in their stomachs.
Increased recycling would help, but not solve, the immense problem.
A ban on single-use plastic bags would be extremely helpful. Fewer bags equals less pollutants.
Reusable, washable cloth bags are an easy, economical alternative.
Ireland has taxed bags since 2002, resulting in a 90 percent reduction. In 2015, the EU legislated to cut their use in half by 2019 and France banned them entirely.
In the U.S., San Jose reported an 89 percent reduction of bags in storm drains and more than 50 percent in waterways and city streets after one year of a ban. California has banned their use as well as cities such as Austin; Cambridge, Mass.; Seattle; Coral Cables, Fla.; and the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach in South Carolina.
The environment makes Beaufort County such a wonderful place to live and fuels our economy. I urge readers to sign a petition for banning the use of single-use plastic bags in Beaufort County.
Hilton Head Island