Mississippi needs to ban plastic bags


Illustration by Derrick “DJ” Reed.

Plastic bags are a well known environmental problem. Americans will use 100 billion plastic bags over the span of a year, and plastic has been known to cause environmental problems. So why is Mississippi afraid of banning them?

In 2018, the state passed a bill that banned local governments from imposing any bans on plastic or Styrofoam related goods, plastic bags included. This seems like the set up to a joke, but it isn’t. This is a legit law put into effect by our state politicians.

Society has slowly but surely made an effort to seek out environmentally friendly solutions in an effort to help our planet. From solar power to electrically powered cars, it’s concepts like these that will ensure the survival of humanity in the long run. Encouraging the use of reusable bags by eliminating plastic bags would also help, but only a handful of states have taken the initiative, including California, Connecticut and New York. If more states, Mississippi included, want to change their ways, we need to show them how plastic can damage a state’s ecology.

Research by MDOT has shown that litter rates in Mississippi are 30% higher than in any other state, and plastic accounts for 9.8% of said litter. Drive on any highway and you’re bound to notice a lot of trash strewn across the median or sides of the road. If this keeps up, there’s no telling how worse the problem could get. The state government needs to crack down on this problem to better ensure the state’s growth and development going forward. Mississippi is a beautiful state, and there’s no need for it to be blemished by the sight of garbage on the interstate or plastic bags drifting down a river.
An article published by “U.S. News” named Rhode Island as the cleanest state in America for its air and water quality plus low pollution rates. If you ask me, that’s a goal Mississippi should strive for. Times have changed. With ocean temperatures rising and natural disasters becoming more frequent, it’s time to stop beating around the bush and do something about this environmental crisis. Banning plastic bags might not seem like much, but it’s very helpful in the long run.