In yet another installment of “don’t they have anything better to do?”, the State of New York is looking at the possibility of banning plastic bags.
Now, don’t get me wrong: The planet Earth has a plastic problem, most symbolically represented by a massive swath of plastic refuse floating in the Pacific Ocean.
And while there are certainly contributions within this hellscape from all over the globe, Americans are far from the most prolific polluter of the Pacific.
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It turns out that about 90 percent of all the plastic that reaches the world’s oceans gets flushed through just 10 rivers: The Yangtze, the Indus, Yellow River, Hai River, the Nile, the Ganges, Pearl River, Amur River, the Niger, and the Mekong (in that order).
These rivers have a few key things in common. All of them run through areas where a lot of people live — hundreds of millions of people in some cases. But what’s more important is that these areas don’t have adequate waste collection or recycling infrastructure. There is also little public awareness that plastic trash is a problem at all, so a lot of garbage, gets thrown into the river and conveniently disappears downstream.
In response to continued environmental concerns the world over, a renewed focus on plastic waste is sweeping America, however, and doing so with a vengeance.
Now, New York State is looking to make a major move; one that would change the way all of us shop forever.
New York lawmakers are expected to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags as a part of the annual budget bill, making it the second state to prohibit their use.
The deal as currently agreed to by New York lawmakers would ban the use of plastic bags throughout the state.
The goal is to get consumers to move away from single-use bags to reusable totes, State Senator Todd Kaminsky told NBC News on Thursday.
But the current agreement among lawmakers is to give counties and other local governments the option to charge a 5-cent fee on paper bags.
While the message here may be one of progress, we must wonder if there weren’t any more pressing issues in The Empire State this month.
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