Bag tax has supporters, critics

Sunday, January 3, 2010

If the District's new tax on paper and plastic bags decreases pollution in the Anacostia River, hip-hip-hurrah ["Bagging pollution," editorial, Dec. 30]. If it reduces trash on the sidewalk, in Metro stations and everywhere else I go, even better.

I live at a busy intersection with a traffic light. I can't count the number of beer cans, Styrofoam takeout dinner packages and other less attractive stuff that people toss out of their car windows when they stop at the light.

A couple of weeks ago I did a 10-day experiment. I picked up the trash immediately around me in Metro cars and stations on the way to and from work. At first I kept count; I averaged four items per day over the first week, but counting got too discouraging.

The major offenders? The Post's Express newspaper, those same McDonald's wrappers and carryout containers, and the ubiquitous plastic bottles and foam cups -- the ones with the lids half off and a straw sticking out. Now here's the best part: Lots of people stared at me, but nobody helped or said a word.

Elizabeth Eby, Washington

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I know that we are all supposed to feel good about the D.C. government's latest lunge for our wallets in the form of a convoluted tax on plastic and paper bags, but, really, it is a ridiculous idea that will inconvenience everyone who shops in the District and do nothing to diminish plastic litter. Everything that goes into those multiple cloth bags we are now supposed to carry with us every time we leave home will be bagged or wrapped in plastic that is not subject to the tax.

As the new year begins, I will be making a pleasant drive through Rock Creek Park to do my shopping in Maryland.

William Herron, Washington


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