The modern world has a plastic problem, and something needs to happen, now.
At some point, cities in Northern Utah were pushing for a plastic bag ban, but that was before the pandemic altered our priorities. The ban had originally been scheduled to begin in Logan during 2020 but is now postponed to 2022. COVID-19 is not a valid excuse to delay the ban, although I do commend the City Council’s decision to push back rather than forget the bag ban.
Paper bags could easily substitute their plastic counterparts. Plastic bag prohibition would be one easy and small step towards curbing plastic pollution in Utah. While plastic waste is generally an eyesore, the issue is beginning to extend beyond what the eye can see.
The polyethylene bag you grab at the grocery store and other plastic products break down into tiny pieces called microplastics. A team of Utah State University scientists lead by Dr. Janice Brahney estimate that over 1000 tons of microplastics are deposited in our remote wilderness areas each year. Microplastics are in our water, food, and in the air we breathe. You eat about half of a credit card’s worth of microplastics each week.
The longer we wait to act against single-use plastics, the more of an issue this becomes. Tackling the plastic problem has to start somewhere.
Europe and Canada are on track to ban single use plastic items by the end of 2021. The United States currently has no such plan in place; Utah can become the standard and set an example our country desperately needs.
I urge Utahans not to wait for a ban on single use plastic grocery bags to cut them out of your routine. You can help to save the world – find an alternative now to help save the outdoors that we all know and love.
Macy Gustavus – Logan
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