2019-03-06

Citizens group working with Lunenburg to develop plastic ban legislation

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>KEITH CORCORAN, PHOTO</p><p>Teresa Quilty of Plastic Free Lunenburg listens to a comment from the gallery during a February 26 meeting of Lunenburg Town Council.</p>

Civic politicians in Lunenburg have agreed to work with a citizens group to develop legislation expected to ban the sale and distribution of single-use plastics, such as straws, beverage bottles and take-out containers.

Plastic Free Lunenburg, an organization backed by environmental stewards and the business sector, anticipates presenting a report to town council containing short and long-term recommendations in April and hopes the local government approves a bylaw before May.

Teresa Quilty of Plastic Free Lunenburg told a February 26 council meeting the group completed 19 hours of public consultations over several sessions in January and February that reached over 300 people. She said her group has a lawyer on the team who's researching and drafting a proposed bylaw for consideration.

More than 90 per cent of participants of the consultation process supported a prohibition of all categories of plastic, Quilty said, which takes in what she called convenience items that are difficult to recycle and make up the a large chunk of pollution glutting landfills and oceans. The same percentage wants to see a ban by January 2020 or sooner.

Plastic Free Lunenburg also heard there's interest in learning more about consumer product alternatives, a need for more water refilling stations and other ideas as the transition takes place.

Plastic Free Lunenburg said Lunenburg produces a large amount of plastic pollution each year and a lot of it ends up - and breaks up - in the environment where it lasts for years and can put habitats and wildlife at risk

The group, which partners with the charity Coastal Action, describes single-use plastic as a world-wide crisis, saying the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic enters the ocean every minute. Information provided by the group indicated 400 million plastic bags are used in Nova Scotia every year.

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