Help Curtail Plastic One Time Use Bags in New York City

If you are a New York City resident, I urge you to write to your City Councilmember to support this very important piece of legislation.

Saving Our Earth by saving Our Oceans

An open letter to all NYC Council Members

Dear Council Members:

I am writing this in the hope that all of you will vote in support of Introduction 209, which would implement a fee on carry out one time use plastic bags in stores. Please consider the following points and hopefully be convinced to pass this critical legislation.

· New York City is a horrible offender when it comes to plastic bag waste. We carelessly throw out 100,000 tons (5.2 billion) plastic bags annually, (Most of which are thrown out after only one or two uses) and pay other states to take our trash because there’s no place for it to go. On average 500,000,000 of those will find their way to the ocean, where their tiny scrapes of chemical components will swirl around for eternity, as if caught in a toilet that never flushes.

· Plastic accounts for 90% of all ocean debris. Unlike other types of trash, plastic is not biodegradable. Plastic is forever. Plastic waste is believed to cause the deaths of 100,000 marine animals each year.

· There is a mass of debris in the Pacific Ocean as big as Texas consisting of mostly plastic bags and bottles. All of our oceans are choking on billions of tons of plastic waste that will float there forever….caught in toxic gyres that choke and kill sea life.

Dear Council Members, it’s time for our city to take this courageous and vital step and save our oceans, marine life, sea mammals and birds. Simply discouraging the use and promoting the recycling of these bags are not realistic options. New Yorker’s can adapt to the slight inconvenience of carrying reusable grocery bags in their shopping wagons and car trunks. Stores can distribute paper grocery bags as they did in our youth and as Trader Joe’s and other retailers continue to do.

It’s time for New York City to take responsibility and ban massive amounts of plastic in our waste stream .It’s time to follow San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington D.C. and ban plastic bags in New York City forever. The bans in these cities have had an enormous impact on reducing one of the biggest sources of pollution on the planet and ensuring that we have a clean, healthy world for generations to come.

We forget that the water cycle and life cycle are one.

Joseph M. Varon

Past President, New York State Marine Education Association

Past Treasurer and Board Member, Alley Pond Environmental Center
Member, Food and Water Watch

244 Lindberg Street, West Hempstead, New York 11552



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