Wednesday there was a rally at Portland’s City Hall by a group out to ban the use of single-use plastic grocery bags. It turns out that these bags do not biodegrade, they just break up into smaller pieces but never go away. Our oceans are filled with the material, and they say an island the size of Texas has come out of the plastics gathering in the ocean because of the currents.
Surfrider Foundation and Environment Oregon were just two of the sponsors for the rally. They tell us that people use 500 bags per year, per person, and only 1 in 5 of those bags gets reused or recycled. All the others go into landfills, the ocean and waterways, and are littered around the planet.
Animals and water-life are endangered by the plastic bags because they either get caught and tangled in them, or they eat pieces that later kill them. They also foul up the water system and other things. It’s a sad outcome for what used to be touted as a tree-saving practice when people chose plastic over paper bags.
The answer is reusable cloth or canvas grocery bags that you can wash and use time and time again. They don’t get thrown away, as they can be used for so many different things. One lady in Lake Oswego, Debbie, uses them to store her yarn for knitting in, because they last longer than the plastic disposables. They’re great for carrying food to a picnic or bbq and to carry supplies for a day at the beach, too. Many, many uses.
Mayor Sam Adams came out to encourage everyone to keep up the fight to ban these dangerous and polluting bags. You can see what he said in the video below, as he knew just what the group wanted to hear. He promised to introduce a bill later this week that will ban the bags for good.
We saw channels 2, 6, 8 and 12 there, all filming the rally. Earlier in the day the ‘bag monsters’ went to the city council meeting to tell of their proposed ban and get city support. About 200 people came to the rally, where the Ghana Nation drummers came to beat out the rhythm while the bag monsters and a giant salmon danced. A video of the monster’s dance is here, but it’ll take you off the page so open it in another window or tab.
They gave out blue “Ban the Bag” tee shirts, some canvas bags and also offered the public free water and snacks. They had Voodoo Donuts, bananas, oranges and apples free to anyone who wanted to participate. The weather was absolutely perfect for it, being in the low 80’s.
Good job, Portland! Stop using those bags! If everyone stops using them, they won’t be able to make them anymore and they’ll be gone for good.