A person picks up a plastic bag on June 30,...

A person picks up a plastic bag on June 30, 2014 in a supermarket in Paris. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Fred Dufour

I agree that litter is a problem, but I think the argument that single-use plastic bags are an environmental problem is overstated [“5-cent bag fee,” News, Sept. 8].

As an avid cyclist and runner, I observe the most visible litter along our streets, and it’s fast-food packaging and cigarette filters. Fast-food packaging is paper-based. Should the fast-food industry have customers bring in reusable cups and plates?

Cigarette filters contain plastic. Using the argument against single-use plastic bags, that means we should ban all cigarettes and have smokers only use a reusable container, such as a pipe.

Millions of cigarette filters are more easily washed down storm drains and into the waterways, where the concentrated poisons are ingested by marine life or leach into the water.

Reducing carbon emissions is important, but eliminating thin plastic bags does not put a dent in this effort. Other manufacturing processes using fossil fuels contribute more carbon emissions. This bill does not solve the root cause of our environmental issues. It makes a few people feel good.

James T. Rooney, Centerport

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