Petition to end plastic bag use
Block the Bag is a new initiative on the island to stop the use of plastic bags. The project was started a few weeks ago by 28-year-old summer resident Tracy Nolan, who was inspired after seeing the film “Bag It.” Nolan has issued a petition, which reads in part: “Please support a ban on the distribution of plastic checkout bags by retailers in order to promote the health, safety, welfare, and cleanliness of Block Island and its citizens and wildlife.” Nolan explains that plastic bags “are literally a plague to the earth,” because “they are single-use bags designed to last forever.”
Plastic presents a multitude of problems. Among them, Nolan highlights the excess plastic waste produced by the U.S., which is so significant that some of our waste must be shipped to foreign countries for disposal. When submerged in water, the shape of the bags can be confused with jellyfish by other marine life, which results in ingestion and entanglement of many marine animals. Nolan says she recently heard of three separate leatherback sea turtle sightings off island, which “alone should make us rethink our plastic bag use out here.”
Nolan’s awareness of plastic bag bans was piqued when she and her sister visited the western coast of Australia this winter, where a ban was in place. “Everything in this town was devoted to keeping their beaches clean and their sea turtles healthy.” The campaign presents Block Island with an opportunity to set an example for other towns in the Ocean State and beyond, she said. Being a small island in the middle of the ocean, no effort to minimize waste is too drastic, as many residents and visitors already know. As for Nolan, she’ll bring her passion for the environment to the University of Miami this fall to pursue a master’s of science in marine conservation.
The petition is at MoveOn.org, a website devoted to empowering “regular folks” to initiate progressive political change through petitions. At the time of publication, Nolan had collected 452 signatures. She would be ecstatic if it reached 1,000, but either way it will be presented to the Town Council before Labor Day.
If you'd like to add your name and make a dent in the 60,000 bags consumed every second by Americans, use this link: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/block-the-bag-ban-plastic.