Other communities have banned plastic bags to satisfy interest groups who insist the plastic is bad for the environment. But to West Texans, the concern is not so much about harm to the planet as to their sense of aesthetics. Those bags, caught by the prevailing winds, end up draped across prickly Mesquite bushes leaving ghostly wings flailing in the air. Once that happens they are indeed ugly and hard to extract.
Some look to governments to make it go away. Governments use a very blunt instrument against their citizenry, either take something away from them or lock them up. And a ban of plastic bags is the taking of a privilege from the user and the livelihood of the bag makers.
At least one bag maker is fighting back with a website, BagTheBan.com, which attempts to enlighten visitors about recycling plastic bags and the possible loss of jobs caused by the bans.
For citizens, it's the tragedy of the commons written in a large font size. Each home or business owner takes care of his/her own property, but the vacant land is where bag magnets -- the mesquite bushes -- thrive.
It's time for volunteers to take action. The Great American Cleanup/Don't Mess With Texas Trash-Off is tomorrow, April 14th. Sponsored locally by KeepMidlandBeautiful.org, it's a call out to citizens to go do what others didn't. Not just to pick up trash, but to strip those bags from the bushes. It's going to be a monumental task, and hopefully there will be enough citizens out there with the desire to keep Midland beautiful and also to keep the government off our backs.