Local officials at the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) are citing litter and marine pollution as reasons for a proposed countywide ban or tax on carry-out plastic bags. Shouldn’t we also consider the profound suffering that results when wildlife becomes entangled in plastic or endangered sea turtles mistake floating plastic for jellyfish, their favorite food? Eating plastic bags can make them feel full all the time, leading to slow painful death from starvation. Just this morning I found a blue heron strangled in strands of plastic on the edge of the estuary. Sea turtles and birds alike are entangled and suffocated by plastic bags, like the egret in the IWMA photo accompanying the article “Ban or tax considered for plastic bags” (May 7).
We can do better, just like we did in the early ’90s when we banned smoking in SLO public places. Please talk to your supervisor before the scheduled meeting to support restriction of plastic bags. State legislature bills AB 68 and AB 87 would add a fee of 25 cents for single-use carry-out bags made of plastic or paper (a similar levy in Ireland has generated millions of dollars for waste reduction). Call Sam Blakeslee at 549-3381 and encourage his active support of these bills. Reusable bags are the way to go: We no longer need plastic. May all beings be free from suffering.