With the State of Rhode Island boasting hundreds of miles of coastline and thousands of acres of public and state parks, the beauty of our environment is a precious resource to everyone in the Ocean State; protecting it should be a top priority. However, our state's natural beauty is threatened by plastic waste that gets into our waterways, parks, yards, and roadsides, and that clogs our landfills; with the help of plastic, the Johnston landfill is now the highest point in the state.
Far too much of this trash comes from an unnecessary product used for just five minutes before being thrown away: disposable plastic grocery bags that threaten to take hundreds to thousands of years to photo-degrade. Nothing we use for just a few minutes should tarnish our state and pollute our treasured natural places. Luckily, the solution is simple: ban plastic bags. This movement is gaining exciting momentum around the country, and it’s time for the Ocean State to protect its environment and join the effort. Towns like East Greenwich can lead the way by enacting bag ban ordinances.
Aaron Yang is a member of Environment Rhode Island is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy group.