Eating Plastic

In the April 21 issue of the Independent, Dean Tambling reported that Councilman Hotchkiss “questioned the very validity of plastic bags as an environmental concern, arguing that they disintegrate and, being indigestible, pose no threat to coastal wildlife.”

The immediate impacts—of wildlife getting entangled in plastic bags, of plastic bags clogging sewer pipes, and blowing around and contaminating seas, lakes, and rivers—are documented and obvious with a walk on a beach or an observation of street litter. More importantly, when the plastic bags photo-degrade (rather than “disintegrate”) into smaller toxic petrol-polymers, they contaminate soil and waterways and as a consequence particles are “digestible” and able to enter the food chain. To the extent that Councilman Hotchiss was accurately reported, his statement was not factual, lacks “validity,” and reflects only an opinion.

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