SNN: Plastic Bag Ban Moves Forward
Somerville, Mass. – The proposed citywide ban on plastic shopping bags took a step forward on Nov. 20 at the meeting of the Board of Aldermen’s Environment and Energy Special Committee.
Around half a dozen people testified during the public hearing part of the meeting.
Maureen Barilla, a member of Somerville Climate Action, brought along a trash bag stuffed with plastic bags that she said she collected during a walk along the Mystic River.
“It’s a very nice place to walk along, but you will find as you’re walking that it’s completely littered with all kinds of waste, but in particular, there are a lot of plastic bags,” she said.
Barilla later told Somerville Neighborhood News why she did the trash collection.
“I’m very glad that I was able to recycle [the plastic bags I collected], but I would rather not do this,” she said. “A plastic bag ban is really the only way that we’re ever going to eliminate this issue.”
Somerville mother Randi Smith Soltysiak echoed Barillaro’s sentiment.
“My daughter is in kindergarten and every time we go shopping, she urges me not to take plastic bags because she says, ‘They kill turtles mommy,’” she told the aldermen and others present. “I think that in a world where we’re teaching our children that this is a toxic and lethal article to put out in the world, I think it’s up to me as a parent to create the systems and the structures in place that we need to… not have that contradiction.”
Resident Andrew Kopacz also supported the ban, and he also asked aldermen to make sure meetings and public hearings are better publicized in the future. He said he only learned of the meeting at the last minute.
“I would like to say that I’m grateful that you’re seeing us, but I’m disappointed that others aren’t here,” he said.
Not everyone present was in support of the ban.
Sav-Mor Liquors owner Ben Weiner brought black plastic bags with him as props.
“People would not use them if they did not like them,” Weiner said as he stuck his arm through he hole and illustrated how customers carry plastic bags full of beverages. “The reason that nine out of ten of my customers ask for them is because it’s convenient for them to carry things.”