The Battle of the Bag

[From the CBC]

Plastic bags. Billions of the handy throwaway items are used around
the world every year. They take hundreds of years to biodegrade and
have sparked heated debates in cities from San Francisco to Mumbai.

This documentary gets a handle on the bag battle. From the big oil
employees who brought the bag to America – to the Nobel laureate
fighting for a bag ban – to the retired German schoolteacher who holds
the world’s record for the most plastic bags, the film takes stock of
this icon of convenience culture.

EXCERPTS FROM THE FILM

Heinz
Schmidt-Bachem began collecting plastic bags in the 1970’s when Germany
was thinking of banning the plastic bag for environmental reasons. He
now has the largest collection of plastic bags in the world, locked
away in a former bomb shelter in Duren, Germany. Watch

Thin
plastic shopping bags were banned in Mumbai after they were blamed for
clogging drains and sewers during deadly floods a few years ago. Those
caught doling out plastic bag contraband are dealt a hefty fine – about
$600. See the plastic bag police squad in action. Watch

When
Rebecca Hosking, a wildlife camerawoman for the BBC, filmed a
documentary in Hawaii, she witnessed beaches that were covered entirely
by plastic waste and sea birds and turtles that were dead or dying from
ingesting the plastic. She battled to make a difference in her home
town, Morburg, which was the first in Europe to go plastic bag free. Watch

Read more about this story.

History note: In 2007, Leaf Rapids (Northern
Manitoba) became the first community in North America to legislate a
ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. In his presentation to
Green Communities in Winnipeg, Mayor Ed Charrier said, “It’s about
being responsible, not about being popular.”

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