Last year, East Hampton (where we live) adopted a law prohibiting grocery stores and other retail shops from providing plastic bags to their customers. Our friends at Group for the East End were vocal advocates of the measure, showing up at the public hearings to make the argument that “as an oceanfront community, East Hampton Village has an interdependent, economic, as we well as spiritual relationship with the ocean and broader natural resources.” We totally agree!
The neighboring town of Southampton is now struggling to introduce a similar ban (politics!), but here at Paddle Diva, we believe it’s of the utmost importance that we stop using plastic bags, regardless of any legislation! According to the Clean Air Council, Americans use approximately one billion plastic shopping bags each year. In addition to the 300,000 tons of landfill waste this creates, a goodly number of these bags find their way into our oceans, where they breakdown and leave plastic particulates that ultimately find their way into the food chain.
Leave a stash of reusable bags by your front door. It makes it easier to remember to grab them on your wait out. Paddle Diva’s Gina Bradley keeps a stash in the back seat of her car! It’s such a simple thing to do, and does so much good for the planet!
Read up on the efforts to keep plastic pollution from destroying our beautiful oceans:
• Learn more about the horrific “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” courtesy Oceanic Defense.org and watch a video of Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (who first discovered the floating expanse of plastic trash).
• Plastic Pollution Coalition has a vision for ending the global dependence on disposable plastics.
• South Carolina art students are “Turning Sea Debris into Art and Getting an Education Along the Way” with a project to turn floating garbage into public art works. Finished pieces are already on exhibit at the South Carolina Aquarium.
• For those that really want to dig into the issue, Stiv J. Wilson’s recent piece for the Huffington Post is chock full of facts and data about our plastic garbage problem.