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Proposed Los Alamos bag ban bad for environment and freedom

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By Paul Gessing

Los Alamos County Commission is now considering banning plastic grocery bags.
More than 200 municipalities in the United States, including two in New Mexico — Santa Fe and Silver City — have banned the distribution of lightweight plastic shopping bags.
Proponents of bag bans, specifically the Sierra Club, claim they will reduce litter and protect the marine environment, diminish our consumption of resources and emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce waste and save taxpayers’ money.
Unfortunately, the supposed environmental benefits of banning plastic bags evaporate upon closer examination.
For starters, authoritative studies show that plastic bags constitute less than 1 percent of visible litter in U.S. cities.
Litter is never a good thing, but the right way to reduce it is to through education — not to simply ban plastic bags.
Members of some pressure groups claim that plastic bags kill large numbers of marine animals. Even for bags distributed in coastal cities, that claim is simply false.
As David Santillo, a senior biologist with Greenpeace, told The Times of London: “It’s very unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags. The evidence shows just the opposite … on a global basis, plastic bags aren’t an issue.”


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