After an ad campaign urging New Yorkers to use greener alternatives to plastic shopping bags, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to impose a 6¢-per-bag charge, the Times reports. While environmentalists approve, and the city’s coffers stand to gain, many think the measure will be unpopular with shoppers, and critics say the charge will hurt those who can least afford to pay.
City officials estimate the plastic surcharge will bring in $16 million per year, though a similar measure in Ireland cut plastic-bag use by 94%. The city council must still approve the fee, which comes at a time of rising taxes and general Big Apple belt-tightening. “We’re paying taxes on everything else,” one East Harlem resident sighed. “Why not bags, right?”