To the editor:
In April state legislators smiled on a bill that would make Massachusetts the first state to ban plastic bags at larger retail stores and restaurants. According to the Boston Globe article dated April 23, the proposed ban is an effort to prevent the bags from harming “marine animals and littering sidewalks, parks and playing fields.”
The bills would ban single-use plastic bags at retail stores larger than 4,000 square feet and would exempt smaller retail stores, as well as the produce and bakery bags used inside grocery stores.
Newburyport has an opportunity to join the hundreds of communities across the country who have already banned the bags, many with stricter ordinances than the proposed Massachusetts bill. Most recently, Brookline and Manchester-by-the-Sea have joined the crowd. Other states are considering similar bans, including Rhode Island.
Newburyport has an opportunity to draft an ordinance that will enhance our community.
As the world gets more crowded, natural environments are becoming more valuable. The ordinance will help keep our glorious Great Marsh, pristine Plum Island beaches and magnificent parks like Maudslay cleaner.
As we help the earth, so we help ourselves.
Newburyport has an opportunity to enhance our reputation as both a resort destination and Green Community. As caretakers of this vibrant, visionary community known for its abundance of natural treasures from the Atlantic Ocean to the Merrimack River to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, it is in our economic, social and personal best interest to protect what sustains us.
It no longer a matter of if, it is only a matter of when. Please join us in encouraging our elected officials and those running for office to embrace the opportunity by voicing your support for a plastic bag ban ordinance.
The Newburyport Council meets at 7:30 p.m. the second and last Monday of each month at City Hall.