More on bags
I want to thank Basalt Middle School fifth-grade student Brittney Goscha for her letter on plastic bags and turtles (“Bags kill marine life,” April 27, The Aspen Times).
It’s nice to see that our youth is so interested in helping protect wildlife that is unable to protect itself. I have carried my own bags to the store for 30 years now. It just seems like the right thing to do, and I credit that thinking to growing up in Aspen, where environmental consciousness was popular even before the first Earth Day.
But I do want to point out that the plastic bags that choke turtles (which is not a lie, as Donna Thompson asserted in her April 25 letter) aren’t those used in grocery stores. Those bags are a product of the banana industry and have been used for decades.
According to many websites, including EcoTeach.com, the bags are placed over ripening bananas to ensure that they ripen in a uniform manner. When bananas are harvested, the bags are simply dumped on the ground and eventually wash into the ocean. They are blue, and to a turtle, they look like jellyfish, which are the sea turtles’ primary food source. Turtles can’t digest plastic bags. Other aquatic animals are negatively affected by the bags, too.
So while it’s good on many levels not to use and discard plastic grocery bags, if it’s turtles we are concerned about, it would be better either to buy organically grown bananas, which don’t require the bags, or to stop buying bananas altogether (not easy, as bananas are so wonderful), since the same agribusiness companies that grow the organic ones are also the ones that use the bags.
In addition, bananas require massive amounts of chemicals to grow, the industry is known for inhumane treatment of workers, and bananas require huge amounts of fuel and other nonrenewable resources to ship.
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