By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — By the end of next week, Baltimore City’s plastic bag ban will be in effect.

“Not sure I knew the day was coming. I knew it was coming,” said Robert Gonzales.

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The day has been coming for a while for the city’s plastic bag ban.

“Minor things become major things somehow,” said Arnteyia Shantay Thompson.

Its effective date was pushed back due to the pandemic.

“I know we need to save the earth and things like that, but it kind of feels like it’s one thing after another,” said Thompson.

The ban of single-use plastic bags at retailers begins on Oct. 1. Baltimore’s businesses must charge five cents a bag if customers don’t have one.

“Five cents a bag, I don’t know. Charging people for bags, it seems like a scheme,” said Ike Okoro.

“Five cents isn’t a lot, Mr. Paul. But, it depends on who you are. I may not have five cents,” Thompson told WJZ.

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“We see them in our trees. We see them littered across the landscape. We see them in our parking lots,” said Mayor Brandon Scott.

Though plastic bags don’t ultimately stay at these places, waterfront partnership officials said their trash interceptor has collected enough of these plastic bags to cover a football field 54 times over.

“It’s an environmental hazard, but they’re just convenient, you know,” said Okoro.

Customers are split on the ban.

“I’ll take this back to the office. I’ll unload it. I’ll throw the bag in the trash,” said Robert Gonzales.

City officials said plastic bags are only used, on average 12 minutes before they’re thrown away and takes a1,000 years to decompose.

“Don’t let anyone tell you Baltimore is not making progress, because there are indeed signs of change,” said Ava Richardson, Office of Sustainability.

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The city said it’s already distributed 16,000 reusable to city residents with plans on giving away 35,000.

Paul Gessler