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Trouble with the old bags

Matthew Chatfield

Ranger regular Dave Larkin writes on a subject very close to The Ranger’s gnarled old heart:

Saw this seagull with attached plastic bag yesterday, couldn’t quite work out how it was attached!, but it was acting like a parachute making the bird put in much more effort than its pals. It reminded me or your tirade against balloons, I think plastic bags are much more of a problem as they are much more common, particularly in fences upwind of places people congregate.

Seagull with plastic bag

Come to think of it, he’s absolutely right. Balloons are bad enough, and have the added disadvantage of being utterly frivolous in purpose. But they are not anything like as common as the ubiquitous plastic bag. Which roadside hedge does not fly the tattered standard of the nearest supermarket throughout the winter? Which wire fence is unable to boast a bag or two adorning its strands somewhere? Which beach is unsullied by the bags floating in? And of course, plastic bags are so very important to our society. Yes, full of cultural resonance, the mighty plastic bag is the totem around which our very civilisation clusters. Hang on – that bit’s not right, is it? Plastic bags are a symbol of idleness and excessive, unnecessary consumption. They are meaningless, ephemeral and inadequate items. We don’t actually need them at all – and it’s easy enough to find perfectly serviceable alternatives that don’t mess up the place:

The Ranger's shopping bag from the Isle of Wight Farmer's Market

The Ranger’s shopping bag from the Isle of Wight Farmer’s Market

So if you don’t want to see sights like the one The Ranger photographed today whilst working on the Medina Estuary (below) when in the countryside – or indeed the town – get yourself some proper bags, and spurn those the supermarkets offer you. It’s easy, and satisfying. And you don’t end up with a bottom drawer full of mangy old bags, either.

Plastic bag on the Medina Estuary

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

2 thoughts on “Trouble with the old bags

  • The Virtual Ranger

    Don’t forget to put reusable bags back in the boot of the car when you’ve unpacked your shopping (if you’re unfortunate enough to have to drive to shops), and put one of those little National Trust foldaway bags in your handbag or pocket…Liberate that bottom drawer!

  • John Mc Gowan

    As a retired fishing skipper it is disgusting to see the seagull with plastic bag attached. It is about time the public took more responsibility for their waste and rubish. since the introduction of the plastic bag levy in the Irish Republic four years ago the countryside and hedgerows are much cleaner and greener. In the areas bordering Northern Ireland the only plastic bags to be seen are those left behind by day trippers to our beaches and rubbish discarded along the public roads on their way home. Cop on and wise up and when you go shopping take a lifelong bag with you, you will soon get into the habit.


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