March 25, 2009

Why can't Baltimore ban plastic bags?

Mexico City recently banned store owners from using nonbiodegradable plastic bags; it even went so far as to impose possible jail time for offenders.

It's amazing that Mexico City can pass such legislation but our city still refuses.

Last summer, the City Council killed Councilman James B. Kraft's bill to ban plastic bags in Baltimore, citing the impact on grocery prices. However, a large number of those plastic bags end up in our waterways, killing wildlife and polluting our waters, not to mention clogging boat motors.

Here's the solution: As part of the city's sustainability plan, perhaps it should give out free reusable bags and ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags.

That would be one step toward a "Cleaner, Greener Baltimore."

Eliza Smith Steinmeier, Baltimore

The writer is the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper.

Saving investment in saving the bay

Bravo to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for standing up to the poultry farmers ("Chicken farmers face strict EPA rules," March 15). Finally, it looks like someone will stand up and protect the taxpayers' investment in cleaning up the bay.

The bay is a very important resource and economic engine for our state, and no one industry should have carte blanch to degrade such a natural resource for its own financial gain.

If we could work together, stop whining and finally restore the bay and its tributaries to some reasonable level of productivity, all the money and time we have spent trying to save the bay would finally count for something.

It's time for all parties to take responsibility for their actions and help to make sure that the millions and millions of dollars and the many volunteer hours devoted to saving the bay are not being thrown down the drain.

Scott Schools, Catonsville

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