January 1 2019

Town Meeting to Consider Plastic Bag Ban Once Again this January

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington Town Meeting will once again consider whether to approve a warrant article that would ban the use of plastic bags in commercial use such as at grocery and retail stores.


The ban was first proposed by two Burlington High School students, Stavan Shah and Ricky Vittum, who argued that plastic bags cause significant environmental damage. In a presentation before Town Meeting in September they argued the bags cause significant amounts of pollutants to be released when they are made and that they do not biodegrade so last in the environment for a very long time. They said the bags end up in trees, on the ground and, most significantly, in waterways and oceans where they break down into tiny plastic particles that can be eaten by fish and other underwater wildlife.


During the September meeting, Town Meeting members seemed to be largely in favor of the ban but decided to postpone a vote on the theory a state law might make local action moot. There were also some who argued that relying more on paper bags also has an adverse effect on the environment as more trees are cut down.


Supporters of the ban pointed out that already more than 80 Massachusetts communities have approved similar bans. They also argued that the best solution is for people to use reusable bags rather than paper or plastic and that a ban would possibly inspire more people to take this route.


Town Meeting is set to convene on Monday, January 28 in the Burlington High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m.


Note: Stavan Shah and Ricky Vittum appeared on our show BNEWS In Depth with teacher Michael Ress to discuss the proposed ban. You can watch that show here.


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