Barnegat Light Resident Letter: Bag Count Needed

To the Editor:

Since Long Beach Township decided to ban the use of plastic bags, there has been a lot of back and forth as to whether this is a good or bad idea. Since everyone “knows” that plastic bags are bad, it is hard to make a case that their use should be permitted within the readership area of The SandPaper.

Let us all agree that plastic does not disintegrate in an environmentally friendly manner. Let us also agree that the pictures one sees of umpteen square miles of the Pacific Ocean covered by plastic litter are appalling and, probably, offensive to all.

That being said, the question becomes: What part does the population on LBI play in adding to the plastic waste problem? The answer is that we do not know.

Before regulating the use of plastic bags, I would suggest that the municipal councils research the problem. Assign each council member a swath of territory to comb and count the number of plastic bags that are found on a specific date, maybe once off season and once in season. Perhaps the commercial and recreational fishing fleets could be asked to participate in counting those found offshore (although this entails the possibility of double counting).

Agree that if some pre-determined number is found, then, LBI, we have a problem and let’s address it. If the number does not meet the criterion, let LBI residents and visitors enjoy the convenience of plastic bags.

I would also suggest that if council members find the use of plastic so offensive, they take further steps and ban the use of plastic shrink wrap on meat packaging and eliminate the sale of plastic storage and garbage bags on the Island as well as other sources of plastic such as toys, etc. The list could go on endlessly.

In short, let’s use a little bit of common sense. If there is some minimal presence of plastic bags on LBI, the population should not be punished. If there is an extraordinary presence, it is a different story. I hope that other municipalities will use better judgment than LBT and ban plastic bags only if they reach some agreed-upon standard.

Sarah Lambert

Barnegat Light

Reposted from The Sandpaper