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Kuntz: Support the grannies, cut the plastic

BY KATIE KUNTZ | SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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Sunday was National Grandparents’ Day, and in Iowa City, a group called 100 Grannies marked the holiday by urging the community to ban plastic bags.

These Grannies are concerned for their children’s and grandchildren’s futures, and they recognize the serious environmental problems caused by producing, using, and wasting plastic bags. Community members should encourage removing plastic bags, and Iowa City is the perfect place for an initiative such as this to be successful.

There are many problems associated with plastic-bag waste, not the least of which is the effect on the oceans. Plastic waste makes up 60 to 80 percent of marine litter, according to the National Resources Defense Council. In a report released in March, the council suggested that the best thing an individual can do is cut the use of disposable plastic, such as plastic bags, from daily routines.

Furthermore, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization released a report in June asking nations to pursue less oceanic pollution by enacting plastic bag taxes that would also discourage the use of plastic bags.

Of course, Iowa is not located near an ocean. However, some of Iowa’s water sources feeds into the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth-largest body of water in the world, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

In March, the EPA released a report reading “human activities have greatly altered the Mississippi River and its watershed. As a result, substantial amounts of sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chemical pollutants are delivered annually to the Gulf of Mexico.”

In Iowa City, many recognize this problem, yet The Daily Iowan previously reported that fewer than 1 percent of plastic bags make it to a recycling plant every year. But with more and more people in the community interested in environmental sustainability, eliminating plastic bags should be relatively easy for this town.

The Grannies involved in promoting a plastic bag ban are focused on improving the world for their grandchildren and future generations. The rest of us should also try to work on improving the world for our own futures, not to mention our grandchildren down the line. We need to support the initiative and cut out plastic bags.


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