PVD City Council Bans Plastic Bags!

Did this really happen?! Last night the Providence City Council joined seven other Rhode Island communities in banning single-use plastic bags! Well done Providence City Council and THANK YOU! The ordinance was sponsored by City Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan who represents Ward 5, the Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, and Manton neighborhoods. She should be remembered at the polls.

The one vote against was Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris. Her constituency in South Providence and the West End includes many people, struggling to live paycheck-to-paycheck, who may view this as a further burden on their budget. According to the ProJo (article nowhere to be found on website),

Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris rose to express concern about the impact the ban might have on low-income families.

She was joined by Councilwomen Nirva LaFortune and Carmen Castillo, who said they heard from many concerned about the cost. The 10-cent fees can add up quickly, LaFortune said.

But they shouldn’t be adding up quickly. These bags are to be re-used and I have complete confidence that her constituents will figure that out. We all got along without them before they were invented. I mostly use cloth totes, but also some paper, and I can make a paper bag last a very long time. And I occasionally walk to the market for groceries and a canvas tote slung over the shoulder is much more convenient than a plastic bag with a handle, and can handle a heavy load.

Councilwoman Ryan assured her colleagues — and residents gathered—that there would be education and outreach over the course of the next year.

It seems that if we are going to call ourselves The Ocean State, we should be the best possible stewards of same, if only out of enlightened self-interest. Our economy depends on tourism, boating, the beaches, and healthy marine fisheries. (Tiny toxic-laden bits of plastic are now in the marine food chain across the entire globe. Calamari may be the safer choice, but some of those apex predators are also delicious.)

This is simply the right thing to do: Who hasn’t seen the heartbreaking pictures of the sea turtles and dead birds, and now comes this report of floating garbage islands in The Caribbean.

And now on to my other bugaboo, plastic water bottles. They may be about to take of themselves out of the game! (“WHO launches health review after microplastics found in 90% of bottled water.” The Guardian.) This is a good week for the oceans!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose