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While having good intentions, I believe the recent ban on plastic bags is merely a distraction from more significant environmental issues while providing society and corporations with an opportunity to pat themselves on the back. The banning of single-use plastic bags will only assist on a minimal level in the preservation of our environment; however, there are far greater laws and regulations that should be passed by the government to protect our environment. While our province touts the “bag ban” as a great accomplishment, why are we not looking at banning of other single-use items such as diapers, cutlery, and so on?
We are more likely to reuse plastic bags whereas most would not purchase reusable diapers in an effort to protect from the degradation of the environment by them. Reusable bags lead to a spike in shoplifting while they will inevitably end up in a landfill like their plastic cousins. Tourists, visitors and regular shoppers are inconvenienced when they realize they left their reusable bags at home. Is it beneficial to the environment to be travelling home to retrieve these bags, or to continue buying these regularly?
While the government seeks validation for this law implementation, Islanders cannot get comfortable and assume they are doing their part for the environment simply by using reusable bags.
Take a walk down any road, beach or even look in your own backyard and see the single-use items that are having more of a detrimental effect on our environment than plastic bags.
Capri LaPierre (UPEI student),