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Lead Or Follow?

Published: April 24, 2018

To the Editor:

Greenwich recently became the second town in Connecticut to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags after Westport did it in 2008. Newtown can and should be the third.

Here are some critical facts about plastic and plastic bags that make urgent action a necessity:
*160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second, five trillion plastic bags are produced yearly
*Only one percent of all plastic bags are recycled, the rest are burned (releasing toxic chemicals into our atmosphere) or end up in landfills or oceans.
*Eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year; whales and other sea animals are dying of starvation because their stomachs are filled with plastic bags which they mistake for food.
*Plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and no one knows how long it will take until it fully degrades. This means that none of the plastic that has ever been produced has degraded.
*Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photo-degrade. They break down into tiny pieces which are then eaten by plankton, which are then eaten by fish, which are then eaten by us. We are poisoning ourselves with plastic.
*Plastic bags are produced using petroleum and other chemicals which are toxic to the environment.

Newtown has been a leader in Connecticut in education, in sustainability, and in advocating for sensible gun control. A ban on single-use plastic bags is spreading across Connecticut. Many other towns are in the process of passing laws similar to Westport and Greenwich. It is going to be the law in Newtown — and sooner rather than later. We can lead or we can follow. Which will make you the most proud?

We owe it to ourselves and our children to become an environmental leader in our state, and ban single-use plastic bags as soon as possible.

Thank you.
Lynn Hungaski
Newtown Environmental Action Group
29 Valley View Road, Newtown         April 24, 2018

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