Terry Peterson 0

Ban the Plastic Shopping Bags--St. Maarten

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Government of Island Territory of St. Maarten October, 1, 2008 Re: Plastic Grocery Bag Ban -- Support Dear Island Council Member: I am writing in support of the ban the plastic bag campaign, which would require grocery stores, shops and supermarkets to BAN FREE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS FROM THEIR STORES and promote biodegradable jute, cloth or canvass bags. Plastic bags account for 4 out of every 5 bags handed out at grocery stores. Thousands of plastic bags are disposed of annually in St. Maarten, creating a huge hazard to health and the environment. That means hundreds of bags are thrown away every second in a pointless cycle of disposal costing our economy and our environment. Grocery stores distribute 60% of the Islands plastic bags, but none of those bags are recycled. Bags play an important role in the litter of our wetlands- plastic film and bags made up 7.8% of the litter volume in and around SXM Waterways. Bags also add to environmental mitigation costs, because waste disposal costs money. Litter also threatens aspects of our commercial/economic sector, particularly tourism. By maintaining the health of our coastlines, we protect tourism and help maintain our vital commercial sectors. Plastic bags also cost the environment. Plastic bags are estimated to take several centuries, perhaps millennia, to decompose. Before then, it will break down into small pieces that can be ingested by, and severely harm, wildlife. Every year, plastic debris such as bags, kills animals through entanglement, starvation, suffocation, ingestion and contamination. To date, 267 species around the world have been affected by plastic debris, which is estimated to kill over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year (World Wildlife fund report, 2005). Plastic bags are especially dangerous to sea turtles and pelicans, who mistake the bags for jellyfish, a main food source, with fatal results. Currently, more than 50 % of sea turtle species have had reported problems with marine debris. According to Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup 2007 Summary Report for St. Maarten, roughly 83% of marine debris originates from land-based activities like picnics, festivals, sporting events, and beach outings, and plastics make up a significant amount of floating marine debris. St. Maarten has long been a leader of sound decisions which simultaneously benefit the economy and the environment. It is illogical, even ludicrous, that we use disposable items that are frequently littered and whose use expires in less than 20 minutes from materials that take between 400 to 1000 years to break down. If each person uses a cloth, canvass or jute bag we can save 6 plastic bags a week. That is 24 bags a month. That is 288 bags a year. That's 22,176 bags in an average life time. The Ban the Bags Campaign Report and the Draft Plastic Bag Ban Law (see http://caribbeanyouthadvocates.org ) are important building blocks in support of the wise use of our resources and in continuing to create an environmentally sound economy. I strongly support this campaign. See the Sundial School BAN THE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG Campaign & Survey Report at http://www.caribbeanyouthadvocates.org Sincerely, _____________________ Citizen of St. Maarten


Sponsored by the Social-Studies classes (B2a & B2B) of Terry J. Peterson, St. Maarten. http://www.caribbeanyouthadvocates.org http://www.interceptonline.org


http://www.caribbeanyouthadvocates.org http://www.interceptonline.org
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