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Board of Representatives contemplates new way to inconvenience residents

Soon, it may be legal to purchase medical marijuana in Stamford, but illegal to leave the dispensary with your paraphernalia in a plastic bag. We live in incredible times.

Plastic bags are more convenient for carrying groceries and other routine purchases. Anyone who's ever had a flimsy paper bag handle break on the way to the parking lot knows as much. They also are worse for the environment (although how much worse is unclear--if the city's recycling vendor stops accepting plastic bags, presumably they will be deposited in a garbage landfill as is ordinary refuse).

So why the focus on plastic bags? "Members of the [Stamford Harbor Management Commission] have said they are concerned about all the plastic bags that end up in Long Island Sound."

As am I. Who doesn't love the Sound? But why are plastic bags in the Sound if people dispose of them in the trash?

Because inconsiderate people litter. Therefore, a plastic bag ban is an overly broad punishment imposed on law-abiding citizens and scoundrels alike.

Of course, littering laws are like the speed limit on I-95; you really have work hard to get sanctioned by the police for a violation.

Further, to punish wrongdoers and enforce the laws against littering would require hiring many more police officers, and patrolling recreational areas and issuing petty citations there. Singapore is lovely, but probably not a model for law enforcement in Stamford to copy.

So, littering is effectively a crime without a punishment, and banning plastic bags could be the only practical way to stop them from turning up in the Sound. I'd probably vote against such a ban, although I understand the reasonable arguments in favor of one.

#environment #plasticbagban