Monday, January 7, 2013
Banning plastic bags... foolishness or a necessity?
I have a HUGE pet peeve. Well, actually, I have a lot of them (such as women peeing all over toilet seats... I mean, really!). I encountered one of them face-to-face last week (face-to-butt is a more accurate description).
My husband and I were walking across the parking lot to go into Denny's when I observed the rather large backside of a woman leaning into the backseat of her car. Apparently, she was cleaning it out. As she scooped up the trash, she promptly dumped it onto the ground in the parking lot beside her car. I stood there, dumbfounded, as I watched her open her front door and do the same thing before getting in, tossing her burning cigarette into the mess and closing the door.
"Don't say anything," my husband insisted. "Just leave it alone."
Everything in me wanted to protest his instruction, but I conceded and went into the restaurant. For the next hour, and apparently longer, since I'm still thinking about it, I stewed. I fretted. I got caught up in the insanity of it. I mean, really! Who does that kind of thing?? It is beyond my comprehension that there are people out there who are like this. I.just.don't.get.it. Can someone explain it to me? Can someone defend her? No, don't bother. It is impossible. Aside from self-centered laziness, there is no explanation.
How did we get to a point in society where people can so easily disregard the earth and its inhabitants? Over the last few years, things have begun to shift... at least in the politics of it all. There are now laws banning plastic bags in various parts of the country... and the world. LAWS! There is even the threat of imprisonment in East Africa if anyone is caught manufacturing or importing plastic bags. A couple of decades ago, this would be laughable.
As you dig further into this subject, you can understand the need for steep penalties. According to environmental ministry official Mohamed Yahya of Mauritania, over 70% of the cattle and sheep who die in Nouakchott die because they ate plastic bags (BBC Afrique). That's bizarre! The animals, in which I believe we've been given charge to care for, are dying because of people's careless attitude toward the earth.
An estimated 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic pollution. That's a startling statistic.
However, my issue isn't with the statistics, it's with the laws. I hate having to inflict more laws on society. But it looks like society had it coming.
So, for those of you in places where it's still legal to receive your goods at the store in a plastic bag, watch out! Unless we change our ways, the laws are going to spread like wildfire. If they do, ask yourself if you might be to blame. If you are still not carrying your own bags into the stores, then you have no right to scoff at the ban that might be coming your way.
Check back tomorrow for my suggestions on how you can eliminate the need for single use plastic bags.
And weigh in. Banning plastic bags... Yes or No?