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Plastic pollution is both a public nuisance and a public health threat. Reducing the use of single-use plastic bags is one of the most meaningful steps that New York can take to reduce pollution from single-use plastic. Governor Cuomo has recently announced his support for a plastic bag ban without the important fee on alternative bags. The evidence does not support a ban on plastic with no fee on paper bags. Evidence from both Chicago and Honolulu demonstrate that the fee on paper is critical to reduce waste and foster a culture of using reusable bags.
Research by Riverkeeper and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found microplastic particles prevalent in waters across the New York metro area demonstrating the extent of the problem. Each year, nearly 23 billion single-use plastic bags are used across NYS. Many of these lightweight bags end up on our streets and make their way into our local waterways, carried by wind, storm sewers, and shoreline littering. Additional research from Columbia University analyzing shrimp, oysters, clams, and other species found microplastic particles in their digestive tract, as microplastics are often mistaken by wildlife for food across the food web.
Now, promising legislation from Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Steve Englebright aims to tackle the problem, but we need your help to build momentum and win support from the Governor and other legislators. Urge Governor Cuomo, your Assemblymember and Senator to pass Senate Bill S7760 and Assembly bill A9953. The legislation would ban polluting single-use plastic bags and place a 10-cent fee on paper. The fee will help fund state parks, environmental programs, and free reusable bags for low and fixed income New Yorkers.
Evidence demonstrates that plastic bag laws help reduce pollution in waterways. Los Angeles County experienced a 94 percent decline in plastic bag usage and a 30 percent reduction in paper bag usage after a ban on plastic and a 10-cent fee on paper went into effect. Plastic bag policies in the United Kingdom have led to almost a 30 percent reduction in plastic bag pollution found on the floor of the North Sea. Initial evidence from 2017, the first year after California's first in the nation ban went into effect, shows a nearly 4.2 percent reduction from 2010 in plastic bags found on beaches statewide. New York should follow the lead of California and help demonstrate to the nation that reducing plastic pollution is possible.
Urge Governor Cuomo and your state Senator and Assemblymember to co-sponsor and fight to enact the New York State BYOBag Act (S7760/A9953).
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Dear: [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
20 Secor Road
Ossining, New York 10562
t: 800 21-RIVER