As we combat the coronavirus pandemic it’s important for Americans to note that many environmental initiatives that purport to “save the planet” not only restrict consumer choice and hurt the business sector —but put public safety at risk.
Take the plastic bag bans here in Massachusetts and beyond.
In an effort to “go green” many states have banned disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other retail locations causing a massive consumer shift to reusable shopping bags we’re now learning could contain the virus.
The coronravirus can live on surfaces for days, including on reusable shopping bags, which are notoriously filthy. Studies have shown that most people don’t clean their reusable bags.
For that reason, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued an emergency order over the weekend prohibiting reusable shopping bags and requiring that stores use disposable plastic or paper bags instead.
“Our grocery store workers are on the front lines of COVID-19, working around the clock to keep New Hampshire families fed,” Sununu said in a statement. “With identified community transmission, it is important that shoppers keep their reusable bags at home given the potential risk to baggers, grocers and customers.”
Maine has also banned reusable shopping bags to contain the spread of the virus. It’s imperative Massachusetts and other states do the same.
We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk. Nor do we want cashiers and baggers at supermarkets touching contaminated reusable bags and then touching your fruits, vegetables and grocery items.
It will exacerbate the spread of the virus that for many could be deadly.
Then there’s the ridiculous bottled water ban still in effect in Concord and elsewhere. During a state of emergency the Department of Homeland Security recommends Americans stock up on a two-week supply of bottled water — just in case. Although we’re told tap water is safe at this time authorities have failed to tell us what would happen if workers at water treatment facilities got the coronavirus or died from it. Then what?
As you can see environmental policies can threaten public safety by indiscriminately banning products that people end up needing during emergencies.
And let’s not forget takeout containers and other single use products such as plastic cutlery that the climate crowd has been trying to outlaw.
Now that restaurants are closed and millions are relying on take-out and delivery we need those useful products more than ever. Something to remember the next time environmentalists try to impose their next product ban.