Plastic bags aren’t the only litter problem in Prince George’s -- Gazette.Net







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Ms. Anne Ambler’s comments [“Bag fee would help keep county clean,” Letters to the Editor, March 20] do not go far enough toward posing a solution to de-littering Prince George’s County. She proposes that Prince George’s emulate Montgomery County by charging a five-cent fee on plastic bags, thus encouraging more shoppers to bring their own bags or “go bagless.”

In Prince George’s County, many markets deduct five cents for every reusable bag a shopper brings in. But plastic bag litter is not the major problem. The area is awash with debris from:

• children eating breakfast while waiting for the school bus and leaving their trash behind;

• adults pulling up to a stop sign and emptying all their carryout trash into the streets;

• pet owners walking their dogs without baggies or pooper-scoopers;

• homeowners carelessly putting out their trash without proper tops, inviting the crows to tear at the bags and strew garbage up and down the street;

• people walking and eating and discarding their plates, bottles and cans along the way;

• neighbors who let the free newspaper pile up on the sidewalk because those paid to distribute the papers dropped them at the curb instead of tossing them close to the door.

These are personal behaviors that seem oblivious to the problem being created for all of us. Property values are affected by trashy neighborhoods. It is telling that people will volunteer for the annual cleanup effort — as long as they’re being fed — but cannot bend to pick up litter around their neighborhood or even in front of their property.

Charging for plastic bags does not clean up the trash in the streets or unclog the catch basins, many of which have trees, twigs or grass sprouting at the opening, with leaves further blocking drainage. But as a first step to tackling the problem, why haven’t plastic bags been eliminated from the marketplace for the very reason that Ms. Ambler advocates?

Rose Scott-Fituwi, Landover