It's time to end the epidemic of plastic bags that are caught in trees, bushes, fences, you name it. Anything that stands vertically and is permeable to the wind will readily snag a bag and hold onto it just about forever. Every time I pick a plastic bag off the ground, I figure I kept it out of a tree. Any pool of water, or pond will hold plastic bags like glue.
It's awful to look at, is dangerous to animals, signifies waste, and uses petroleum. Take a ride downtown on Metra Electric and see the astounding display of plastic bags all over the margins of the right-of-way, especially the forested east side. It will get worse during the summer, when people take a flimsy single-use bag for, say, a bottle of soda and then discard it as soon as they're out the door.
Some cities in the U.S., notably San Francisco, have enacted various levels of restrictions or outright bans on plastic bags at retail stores. A growing number of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia are addressing the problem. Despite fear-mongering by merchants, the laws have not put their businesses in the toilet, nor have they somehow been detrimental to their customers.
I learned a lot at the site:
There are viable substitute materials with much longer useful lives, even compostable plastic bags. Programs to distribute and encourage the use of canvas and cloth bags have been successful.
Plastic bag recycling efforts seem to be woefully inadequate, and anti-littering laws don't cut it.
I wrote to Alderman Hairston about this problem. The mayor, for all his caring about urban beautification, has said little or nothing about the plastic bag invasion. The Chicago City Council should act on this matter before the entire city turns into an orgy of flying, fluttering, flapping, flimsy, filthy plastic.