TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – You may have seen plastic bags drifting along State Road 46. On Sunday, there was one bag you just couldn’t miss.
Covered, from head to toe, in 500 plastic bags was a woman who calls herself “The Bag Monster”. She says the 500 bags represents the number of bags that one shopper accumulates in a year.
“It is not keep America beautiful, it is keep Indiana ugly with all these bags,” she said, “It’s crazy, I mean who is going to pick all of this up?”
So that’s what she set out to do along State Road 46. Collecting trash while dressed in her bag monster character. Her mission? To raise awareness on the impact of littering and a specific bill that recently went through Indiana’s statehouse.
House Bill 1053 was approved in this year’s General Assembly. The bill would prohibit Indiana cities from taxing or restricting the use of disposable plastic bags by retailers and grocery stores.
“I think the consensus was let’s deal with it at the state level and not have ten different laws throughout the state that would affect commerce,” said Senator Jon Ford, “I think that’s something again that’s going to be revisited.”
The bill will also mentioned at Saturday’s Vigo County Cracker Barrel Session. Other local legislators expressed similar concerns in regards to affecting commerce. However, all agreed that the littering issue throughout the local and state level is a conversation that needs to be had at the statehouse.
Representative Bruce Borders also threw out the idea of biodegradable bags. He says with the technology now, having those bags would be a great help to the issue.
Ford says within the coming years, legislators will see more recycling efforts go through the statehouse. For now, it’s up to residents to do their part in keeping their community clean.
“You can’t legislate common sense,” said Ford, “Hopefully people will not throw the stuff out into the street and take the time to recycle because we have plenty of places to do that here.”
As for doing your part, “The Bag Monster” hopes residents will wake up and take action.
“America, you have a bag habit,” she said, “I’m just saying, take the time to look around you because it is only getting worse, but you can make a difference.”
“Sometimes you need to make a law to help people do the right thing,” she said, “That’s all I’m saying… You should have the ability to choose that.”
In Indiana, state laws lead to a fine of up to $1,000 if caught littering.