Los Angeles councilman advances war against shoppers

Shoppers in Los Angeles take home about 2.7 billion plastic and paper bags every year. Now a city councilman has introduced a bill to ban single-use paper and plastic bags.

The Los Angeles Times reports that,

“With paper bags, you’re still generating litter,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced the motion proposing the ban. “We’re taking the next step.”

Litter? Is that really a problem anywhere in 2011 America?

Though Heal the Bay and other green groups claim that plastic bags are among the “sea’s most insidious pollutants,” The Times (UK) exposed that myth in the March 2008 article, “Series of blunders turned the plastic bag into global villain.” The article reads,

Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.

The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds…

Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals.

They “don’t figure” in the majority of cases where animals die from marine debris, said David Laist, the author of a seminal 1997 study on the subject. Most deaths were caused when creatures became caught up in waste produce. “Plastic bags don’t figure in entanglement,” he said. “The main culprits are fishing gear, ropes, lines and strapping bands. Most mammals are too big to get caught up in a plastic bag.”

He added: “The impact of bags on whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals ranges from nil for most species to very minor for perhaps a few species.For birds, plastic bags are not a problem either.”

The central claim of campaigners is that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds every year. However, this figure is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine mammals, including birds, were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.

Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian Government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to “plastic bags”.

The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the “typo” remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing “plastic bags” with “plastic debris”. But they admitted: “The actual numbers of animals killed annually by plastic bag litter is nearly impossible to determine.”

In a postscript to the correction they admitted that the original Canadian study had referred to fishing tackle, not plastic debris, as the threat to the marine environment.

Regardless, the erroneous claim has become the keystone of a widening campaign to demonise plastic bags.

David Santillo, a marine biologist at Greenpeace, told The Times that bad science was undermining the Government’s case for banning the bags. “It’s very unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags,” he said. “The evidence shows just the opposite. We are not going to solve the problem of waste by focusing on plastic bags.

“It doesn’t do the Government’s case any favours if you’ve got statements being made that aren’t supported by the scientific literature that’s out there. With larger mammals it’s fishing gear that’s the big problem. On a global basis plastic bags aren’t an issue. It would be great if statements like these weren’t made.”

Geoffrey Cox, a Tory member of the Commons Environment Select Committee, said: “I don’t like plastic bags and I certainly support restricting their use, but plainly it’s extremely important that before we take any steps we should rely on accurate information. It is bizarre that any campaign should be endorsed on the basis of a mistranslation. Gordon Brown should get his facts right.”

We can’t imagine what the enviros’ problem is with paper bags, except that they facilitate much-hated commerce.

7 thoughts on “Los Angeles councilman advances war against shoppers”

  1. For the love of Pete! Considering all of the REAL problems we have, why do some feel it necessary to make up and/or elevate a minor one? But I suppose when the EPA shuts down 20% of our baseband electricity and the rolling blackouts begin, people will forget about bags quickly. That’s when the crap will really hit the fan. Of course, it may not be running because of the blackout…

  2. Every living thing, by the very acts required to stay alive, depletes its own resources and pollutes its environment with its own wastes. You must broaden your perspective beyond any single species until the wastes produced by one are the resources for another.
    Paper bags can be burned and the CO2 made available to plants.
    Plastic can be remelted and reused.
    There is no excuse, however, for culturing pathogenic microbes.

  3. The trees used in paper bags are planted and re-planted. The plastic bags are used for trash and many other uses. Wind farms are more hazard to eagles and other birds. This is a no win situation. There is no problems with plastic bags the problem is with people who do not dispose of them properly.

  4. Somewhere between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed world–wide each year.

    They do not degrade quickly enough in landfills, and may pose a danger to many marine mammals.

    Some super–markets now charge their customer 5 cents per bag, and rake in millions of dollars in EXTRA revenues.

    The Green Alternative to single–use plastic bags may be paper.

    Is this less hazardous for the environment ?

    Choosing either paper or plastic may be JUST AS HAZARDOUS for the environment.

    According to the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council, the plastic bags used annually in the United States require about 12 million barrels of oil to produce.

    In comparison, paper bags require about 14 million trees.

    When compared to RESUSABLE bags, single–use plastic or paper bags ARE LESS HAZARDOUS to the health of people.

    According to Environmental–Lunatic–Activists, the PROHIBITION of BOTH single–use plastic and paper bags is necessary to « save » the environment.

    The Green Alternative to single–use plastic or paper bags is reusable bags, hundreds of dollars.

    Reusable bags are SOLD-FOR-PROFIT, and may cost upwards of three–dollars per bag.

    Reusable bags may have been « très chic » in recent years, but they come with ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS as well.

    A study conducted by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council in Canada found that the reusable bags are PETRI DISHES OF DISGUSTING BACTERIA.

    In a November 2008 study in Toronto, using swab testing of reusable bags, re-searchers found that there was CONSIDERABLE BACTERIAL BUILD–UP, MOLD, and YEAST on the reusable bags, as well as significant levels of FECAL BACTERIA.

    Why are reusable bags a HAZARD ?

    They are used to carry GYM CLOTHES, and even DIRTY DIAPERS.

    The millions of reported cases each year of FOOD POISONING could be from CONTAMINATED « eco–friendly » reusable bags.

    Moreover, Tax–Exempt Environmental–Terrorist–Organizations will OPPOSE ANY CHANGE to the 5–cents–per–bag charged by super-markets ‘cuz the millions raked in are often donated to THEM.

    For more information, please go to the Pesticide Truths web-site …

    It is a LIBRARY OF REPORTS that contains History, Links, News, Audios, and Videos with ALL Force Of Nature and Pesticide Truths reports, and information right-off-the-press, in Black & White Documents


    QUICK DOWNLOAD of ALL Force Of Nature reports in Full Colour Documents


    William H. Gathercole and Norah G

    National Organization Responding Against HUJE that seek to harm the Green Space Industry ( NORAHG )

    NORAHG is an INDEPENDENT NON-PROFIT organization.

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