Even though the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in our community, we still must remember our obligations to ourselves, our neighbors and those to come. The article written by Nate Gotlieb in the April 16 issue, “Southwest Minneapolis environmental activists press on” (page A12), directed my focus to Theresa Carter’s efforts to ban or tax the use of plastic bags.
As a University of Minnesota student still living near campus, I am in the area impacted the most by the coronavirus in Minnesota. I understand the fear our community faces when it comes to the COVID-19 infection rate and how it is transmitted. I was taken aback that the head of the Plastic Industry Association would use such fear to enhance their economic benefits by arguing that reusable bags carry COVID-19.
Yes, reusable bags have the chance of carrying COVID-19, but so do plastic bags that have been touched by hundreds of customers when checking out. The pollution levels and concentration of microplastics in our environment are still rising. COVID-19 is not an excuse to neglect our prior duties, including caring for the environment by decreasing the use of plastics. When COVID-19 eventually passes, the pollution problem will still be waiting for us.
Every day we are engulfed with concerns about COVID-19; however, as a community, we need to stay clear-minded. Remembering what we stand for is important to prevent large companies from exploiting our weaknesses for their own gains. We must not let this pandemic overshadow the issue of pollution and our duty to reduce the use of plastics.