Ban a success
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
Plastic Bag Ban did work in California.
Despite Mr. Bruce Westbury’s anecdotal observations in his June 12, 2019 letter to the editor, California did see a reduction in single use plastic bags waste in the state. On November 8, 2017, one year after the passing of the ban on single use plastic bags, John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources noted, “For decades, plastic bags were one of the most common items collected during the annual California coastal cleanup. This year, as California continues to transition to reusable bags, we are seeing a substantial decline in plastic grocery bag litter on beaches, rivers and parkways.”
According to the data from the Ocean Conservancy, as recently as 2010 volunteers documented more than 65,000 plastic bags littered along California beaches and rivers during the annual clean up, accounting for 7.4% of all items littered, 3rd most prolific behind just cigarette buts and fast food packaging. The final results from the September 2017 clean-up data reported by hundreds of clean-up crew covering more than 1800 miles across the state shows that plastic bag litter had dropped to 3.0% of all items collected and dropped to the 5th most prolific item collected behind cigarette butts, plastic caps, plastic utensils and fast food packaging.
Specifically, regarding Mr. Westbury’s comment “...plastic bags are still blowing around in the Southern California Area...”, it takes 500 or more years for plastic bags to degrade, we need the ban to halt this plastic pollution.