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Bag Snag

A reader named Salvatore Seeley writes:

I’m not sure if this would be of interest as a story. I have been working with the city on dealing with this nuisance property that’s a convenience store in my neighborhood in Union Square. One of the ways we are trying to get the store to be more accountable to the amount of garbage that it creates is by the [plastic] bags that it hands out and we end up cleaning [up]. I sent an e-mail back in March regarding this to the [Baltimore] Office of Sustainability.
I was following up with them the other day about their plastic bag reduction program. I read it and thought it might make a great story:
Dear Mr. Seely [sic],
Thank you for the concern you have expressed regarding the Plastic Bag Reduction Program and the business at [address redacted]. The Department of Planning sent correspondence to the business notifying them that they are out of compliance with the program on March 9, 2011, and August 9, 2011.
The Office of Sustainability can only send notification and warning letters related to this law. The Baltimore City Law Department has determined that the Department of Planning does not have the authority to issue fines, violations or citations against any business that is noncompliant with the Plastic Bag Program. In addition, no funding has been allocated by City Council to hire enforcement officers to issue citations or visit individual businesses.
In early 2012 the Office of Sustainability will be drafting a report analyzing the effectiveness of the Plastic Bag Reduction program. Hopefully these issues can be addressed through that evaluation.
Thank you and have a pleasant day.
Ivor Quashie
Baltimore City Planning Department
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