As a longtime Juneau resident returning home after almost a decade, I am very disappointed at how few residents bring reusable bags to the supermarkets.
According to the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation’s website, 14 Alaska communities have enacted municipal ordinances that effectively ban the use of plastic bags, and another two small communities used a different route.
Interestingly, Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer and Soldotna have enacted municipal bag bans, while Juneau, long thought the state’s most progressive community has taken no action.
At 74, I have had my hands in saltwater most of my life and I have been active in the seafood industry for about 45 years. The effects of global warming on our oceans are very apparent in Alaska and current trends are frightening. The last thing they need is more microplastics.
If you go online, you’ll find all kinds of estimates of how long it takes for a plastic grocery bag to be reduced to microplastics in the marine environment, ranging from 20 to 1,000 years. Plastic bags buried in a landfill will take much longer. Scientists estimate it takes about 500 years for a plastic bottle to disintegrate.
A ban on plastic bags is a good first step.