, Newburyport, MA


September 24, 2013

Bag it? Yes, bag it

To the editor:

Just what does “bag it” mean? Does it mean to discard whatever, throw it away, put things into a bag? Is it a life-changing documentary? A meaningful movement? Perhaps all of the above.

If you haven’t seen the documentary “Bag It,” go to, or contact our local cable station. It’s an illuminating clip about the destructive impact of plastic, particularly the thin-film, single-use plastic bag with the integral handles. The ones we get at the supermarket and other retail stores.

These bags have been banned or their use regulated in: Brookline, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Great Barrington, all here in Massachusetts; in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Mexico City and Paris; in South Australia; and Bangladesh, China, India, Italy, Macedonia, Rwanda, South Africa and Taiwan. We can do this in Newburyport too! A proposed ordinance likely will be brought to our City Council sometime this fall/wWinter. Why wouldn’t we pass it?

The U.S. goes through over 100 billion of these shopping bags per year. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to make them. The plastic is a non-biodegradable one that never goes away. Billions of marine animals starve to death after mistakenly ingesting plastic bags or their remnants. Plastic outnumbers plankton in our oceans anywhere from 4:1 to 40:1. Other animals and birds become entangled in plastic bags and as a result drown or can’t fly. This plastic finds its way to other waterways, our landfills, catches on our trees and shrubs.

Yes, it takes some time to develop the new habit of not using the thin-film, single-use plastic bags. Can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to go back to the car or back home to get my re-useable bags. It took a while to establish a system that would work for me. It’s finally in place. It makes so much sense to take this step, in order to avoid polluting the environment and all living things, including our own lives. For those reasons, let’s stop using those plastic bags. Let’s expect that our simple practical change (of using re-useable bags) and an ordinance, will make a meaningful difference in our world.

Chris Czernik


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