NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 12, 2014

Plastic bag ban proposed

City Council will receive measure Monday

NEWBURYPORT — City councilors are expected to take up a measure at their Monday meeting calling for a ban on thin plastic bags traditionally used on checkout lines of merchants.

The initiative is being driven by a local group called Citizens for Sustainable Bagging. Councilor Barry Connell is scheduled to introduce the measure, and he has indicated it has the support of a half-dozen other councilors.

“These thin bags can be a problem for the environment,” said Connell, an at-large councilor. “In a coastal community like ours, they can be trouble if they are in the river or the ocean” and can affect power boats and sewage-treatment plants.

“We’d like to develop alternatives, and some currently exist like reusable bags.”

Connell said that the measure could call for penalties for the use of plastic, but indicated that city officials have been talking with merchants in an effort to avoid financial hardship.

Connell said that other councilors who support the measure include Ed Cameron, Bob Cronin, Jared Eigerman, Ari Herzog, Charles Tontar and Bruce Vogel.

Others might join in support but he said he didn’t want to speak for those who have not yet finalized their positions.

In a Facebook posting, Walt Thompson, who heads the Bartlet Mall Commission, has noted that plastic bags sometimes end up in the Frog Pond, a vulnerable body of water that city officials are trying to clean.

Leading the anti-plastic initiative is Janine Brunell Looker, a Newburyport resident who says that limiting plastic “checkout bags” can be one way that communities can work for cleaner waters and grounds.

“Those who want to improve the environment can’t change everything but this seems like a project that will help,” Looker said. “We don’t want to hurt stores, and have talked with merchants about cooperating.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Special Features