standing letters

It’s a new year, a new decade and a new sensibility with the Jan. 10 story in The Sun titled “Ruggerio sponsors plastic bag legislation.” Following Westerly (Jan. 1) and the State of Connecticut (Aug. 1) leaders, the Ocean State is right to adopt a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, which have proven to be a death sentence for some ocean wildlife that mistakenly confuses toxic plastic bags with edible food, paying for this mistake with their lives.

Well, I’m from Rhode Island, where we love and protect our ocean! The patchwork municipality ban or fee for single-use plastic bags form a hodge-podge of confusion that might lead one to question the logic or necessity of banning plastic bags. Fake news? Please! Our 2020 imperative: “Always prioritize what is right over what is easy” with a moral angle to anything that harms the innocent. Marriage equality: Rhode Island helped advance the 2013 cause of same-sex marriage national legislation, becoming the 11th state to adopt the emerging same-sex marriage trend that the less partisan Supreme Court made national law for all 50 states. Similarly, let’s hope we’re moving to national consensus to rid ourselves, our ocean and our communities of single-use plastic bags that the Ocean State should lead on since our environment is a key component of our identity, our self-image and what makes us special.

National Geographic reports that 91% of plastic does NOT get recycled, with 12% incinerated and 79% discarded to landfills or pollution. But you don’t need statistics, legislation or political office-holders to do the right thing: Reduce your plastic consumption with Rhode Island’s Democratic Senate President Ruggerio’s statewide plastic ban proposal a most welcome first step in the right direction.

Jay Lustgarten


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