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We pay one way or another

Today — Earth Day — a petition will be officially launched aimed at creating a 25-cent fee attached to paper and disposable plastic bags.

It is being coordinated by Greenrock and the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, an informal group of interested individuals and representatives from local environmental organisations. It has no government involvement and does research on marine plastics and provides advice and support to Greenrock.

This newspaper fully supports this petition. Hopefully it can go someway to persuading people of the need to use reusable bags — helping cut down on the use of precious resources but also, hopefully, the awful scarring of the environment caused by trash.

As Anne Hyde of KBB put it: “We pay for bag disposal when it ends up as litter on the roadside or the beach. We pay because of the cost to clean up, and the cost to the environment and to our health.”

The campaigners said similar legislation has been passed in Washington DC, causing demand for bags to fall by more than 70 percent.

Bermuda seems to put a high value on consumerism, but not on the environment.

The Royal Gazette has written in this column before about the disgusting state of the undergrowth. (Just take a slow walk and have a look. It is not just bottles or plastic bags…..)

The car pictured below could sum up the attitude: it’s broken, so let’s just abdicate responsibility and dump it in the hope that someone else will take care of it.

When this newspaper ran the story of the petition last week, it attracted many comments.

One was: “My daughter was in Germany one summer and everyone at the local grocery used their own bags. It was just part of shopping there. As a young person, she thought this was great and wanted to see stores here do the same. So maybe for us older folks, this is a bitter pill to swallow but for the generation coming behind, this is something some are willing to accept and encourage.”

Another was: “Paper bags are biodegradable and no threat to the environment — plastic are the opposite — a huge threat. Why are they even being mentioned in the same sentence? Start a campaign to get rid of plastic bags — and you might get a bit of support, otherwise you environmental crackpots are barking up the wrong tree.”

One other person suggested that the overriding need was for education, not the petition. That person was right, to an extent. Education must run hand in hand with affirmative action, we cannot wait until everyone is educated, it will be too late.

Plus, there is clearly a lot of ignorance (as evidenced by other comments on the story), so the educational process is going to be slow in the face of such antipathy.

The petition can be found here: http://www.greenrock.org/petition

Useful websites: Earth Day http://www.earthday.org, Greenrock http://www.greenrock.org/

* Want to chat with me? Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremydeacon1

Today's Earth Day, when a petition to charge 25-cents for plastic bags will be launched.

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Published April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm)

We pay one way or another

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