Posted Jan. 23, 2014 in the Cheboygan News
By BRADY HEBERT
CHEBOYGAN — David Martin, member of the Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace and Justice, has started a local petition to ban plastic grocery bags in Cheboygan and is hoping to gain for support for the cause.
"I've always been interested in the environment since high school, and to me things are just getting worse," said Martin. "My goal is to take the petitions in front of the city council around Earth Day. It seems to be a time where more people are concerned about the environment."
Although Martin is taking the lead role and doing the "leg work" with the petition, he said his mother, Karen Martin, did a lot of research on the threat that plastic grocery bags pose to the Earth.
Martin said that the state of Hawaii passed a ban on plastic grocery bags that went into effect in January, and that more and more municipalities in the United States have either banned the bags or levy taxes on them, including San Francisco, Los Angeles County, Portland, Washington D.C., Seattle and more.
"While ringing the bell for the Salvation Army this Christmas, I saw how many people were carrying plastic bags. It disturbed me," explained Martin.
Eight million pounds of plastic, including bags, are dumped in the ocean each year, according to Martin, creating an island of plastic twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean. The "plastic island" is 300 feet deep in some places. The plastic kills numerous species of fish, mammals and birds, he said.
Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, a thermoplastic made from oil. The bags photo degrade over time and break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers, which eventually contaminate soils and waterways, and the microscopic particles can enter the food chain, Martin explained. He said that the typical customer uses the bags for 30 minutes from store to home to the trash can. In the trash heap or ocean, the particles last for centuries.
Martin urges people to switch to reusable bags instead of the plastic grocery bags. The bags are bad from the start, he said, taking millions of gallons of oil to make them with the remnants of the bags lasting far beyond our lifetime.
Martin hopes to get to local businesses as soon as possible to solicit signatures for the petition. He can also be contacted at (231) 818-6806. Concerned citizens can also sign a worldwide petition at www.Care2.com.
The Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace and Justice is a group that seeks to promote the peaceful and just resolution of conflict using nonviolent means through educational programming, informing community leaders, and holding vigils.