Target: Rick Perry, Texas Governor
Goal: Demand that the city of Dallas be allowed to take action to ban environmentally dangerous plastic bags
Council members of the city of Dallas, Texas have been fighting hard to ban plastic bags from Dallas supermarkets. Due to pressure from politicians and from the plastic industry, the city has been forced to compromise by implementing a 5 cent charge for plastic bags similar to those that 8 other states (California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington) have either implemented or are currently considering.
The fees, though not as effective a means of plastic eradication as a ban on plastic bags would be, have had a considerable impact in locations where they have been implemented. In San Jose, California, plastic bag litter decreased by 89%, and within Texas itself, the city of Austin brags 90% fewer non-reusable bags used.
Despite Dallas’ apparent willingness to compromise, lawsuits may soon be filed against the city even for implementing the insignificant 5 cent per bag fee. While in all likelihood such a lawsuit would fail to impress a judge, as the legality of the fee has been successfully upheld in other states, it is a testament to the tendency of so many individuals to be blinded by concerns of convenience and money when the less immediately tangible but equally real concern of environmental disaster is involved.
While maintaining the recently imposed fee in Dallas would have a marked environmental effect, banning the use of plastic bags in Dallas entirely has the potential to be even more effective. Even a single plastic bag is non-biodegradable, taking 400 to 1,000 years just to break down into poisonous particles that cause the contamination of sediment and water alike. Pre-breakdown, a plastic bag can choke to death the marine animals that attempt to eat them, and add to the 90% of ocean debris currently consisting of plastic substances.
Sign the petition below to help convince Texas, the second most highly populated state in the nation after California, that its cities (including Dallas) should either be charging for or permanently banning the use of plastic bags, and that pressure from an industry responsible for 90% of the trash poisoning the earth’s oceans should be uniformly disregarded.
Dear Governor Rick Perry,
As the governor of the second most populous state in the nation, it is your responsibility to keep the people you govern informed of their ability to significantly reduce the nation’s overall use of plastic, a non-biodegradable substance that is poisoning water supplies, sediment, animals and humans as we speak. The easiest way this can be done is by maintaining fees on and, if possible, banning entirely the use of plastic bags in supermarkets within your state.
You have the power to speak to other Texan politicians about the 90% of ocean waste that currently consists of plastic products, and the importance of refusing to respond to pressure from the industry responsible for that appalling percentage. A single plastic bag slowly breaks down into environmentally poisonous particles over the course of 400 to 1,000 years. Let Texans know that even a single plastic bag is one too many to put in our environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Zainub Razvi via Flickr