I remember arguments that sounded just like the ones Cindy Wade is now using ("Let’s Ban All Bans" essay, March 6) against the idea of regulating what kind of plastics might be banned in the City of Canandaigua. Those arguments were used when New York State “forced” us all to wear seatbelts back in the 1980’s and then had the audacity to make us stop smoking in enclosed public spaces in the early 2000’s. How dare the government make us save lives like that!
Every year, according to recent reporting in the Wall Street Journal, the world produces 600 billion pounds of plastic and 20 billion pounds of that ends up in our global waterways. That is 20 billion pounds of plastic annually going into our oceans and into the food chain.
This is a human-caused environmental disaster of global proportions that affects the web of life. Yes, I depend on plastic just like everyone else but I am also quickly realizing that it behooves me to figure out how to get along with a lot less of it. I also strongly support educational efforts. They are necessary and effective but they take a long, long time.
You can move to a low tax/regulation state like Florida where the coral reefs are dying, the water table is turning to salt and the red tide is becoming an environmental and economic disaster but you cannot hide from the messes we humans have created yet too often don’t want to take responsibility for cleaning up. As the Wall Street Journal concluded, it’s going to take “innovation, commitments by large businesses and major policy changes” to stem the tide of plastic waste washing over us. It’s also going to take all of us doing our part in our own communities at reducing waste, educating ourselves and not running away from the difficult discussions.