The modern-day tumbleweed

The modern day tumbleweed – the plastic bag – blowing in the wind, and right into our waterways…

We have all seen them, every day of the week, whether on your way into work or out walking around, there they are: brown, white, blue, black . . . plastic bags fluttering through the air, stuck in tree branches, floating on the surface of the water, clogging up the storm drains. I know you are committed to reducing trash in Baltimore’s streets and waterways and are sick of seeing this eyesore – so let’s speak up today and let our City Council members know that we want policies in place to reduce the use of disposable bags (and polystyrene containers and to increase recycling while we are at it!)

Did you know that last year Travel + Leisure magazine ranked Baltimore the third dirtiest city in America?! Now, more than ever is the time for all of us to support efforts like Councilman Brandon Scott’s bill (13-0241), which would set a nominal fee on disposable plastic and paper bags; a proven and effective measure for reducing disposable bag use and litter.

Your City Council representatives are holding a bill hearing on January 21st at 9:45 am. Look up which district you live in, if you don’t already know, and please call or email your member of City Council today and let him or her know that you support this measure – you care about clean water, stronger neighborhoods, and the health of our City!

As Councilman Scott has been quoted, “We have more plastic bags in the streams than fish. If you go to a park in my district, all you see is plastic bags.” This is unacceptable and it is time we stand up and make a difference!

Disposable bag fees are not even a new idea – check out this great article about Hawaii’s recent move to ban plastic bags, making it the first state in the country to eliminate this nuisance.

Don’t think your voice matters? Think again! As the article points out, Hawaii’s success came from local, grassroots efforts. The ban did not come from the state legislature but instead from the four County Councils. The article also notes that the plastic bag ban is only just a first step; if they were to enact a fee for paper bags as well, they would further reduce the use of disposable products.

We can do it Baltimore!!

– by Kristen Weiss, Blue Water Baltimore

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