, 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
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Special Features