Small fee on plastic bags is pretty reasonable

I've been a resident of Howard County for 33 years. I moved here from Montgomery County because of all the development and congestion. Columbia seemed to me a green place to live. To my surprise, the county has not placed itself at the forefront of climate change. Montgomery County has taken bold steps to curb climate change by getting support from residents and business owners making them aware of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases.

Montgomery County politicians are not afraid to talk about climate change and make it part of their overall decisions regarding the environment, development and transportation. Here in Howard County, however, there are those who are crying about a bill that would create a fee on plastic bags (“Proposal for Howard plastic bag fee supported, decried,” Nov. 26).

Opponents claim the measure will hurt small business and cause too many accounting problems. No one has to pay a fee for a bag — you just need to bring your own. This will cause the stores to purchase fewer bags, saving them money and helping reduce single-use plastic. I'm not sure those who are complaining about the fee haven't taking into consideration the county is not making any money recycling and we all might be paying higher taxes to recycle.

Maybe opponents don't understand that plastic bags are produced from petroleum and when they break down, they emit a small amount of methane into the atmosphere adding to the greenhouse gas problem. Having a fee on bags will not solve the climate issue, but it sure won’t hurt. It's time to stop kicking the can down the road. It's time for our elected officials to speak up and put climate change front and center in our county.

Alisa Niefeld-Batiz, Columbia

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