Alyssa Jensen, 15, is speaking to local councillors about the problems of single-use plastic. (Provided)

Central Saanich teen spreads the word about plastic bags

Alyssa Jensen, 15, presenting to Saanich Peninsula councils

A Central Saanich teen is encouraging Saanich Peninsula residents to consider a plastic bag ban, and is presenting to schools and local governments to highlight the issue.

Alyssa Jensen, 15, is a student at Stelly’s Secondary and first learned of the problem in her Marine Biology 11 class. When her teacher, Mr. Siebert, assigned an inquiry project, she chose to research garbage in the ocean, particularly single-use plastic bags. Jensen said they are the second most common plastic item in the oceans (bottles are the first), and they can be recycled.

In her research, Jensen learned that garbage in the ocean is caught in the currents and ends up in inlets or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and much of that could have been recycled. Jensen supports a ban because she said there are many alternatives, including re-usable bags and paper bags. She said single-use plastic bags can be recycled at many grocery stores, but most people don’t because it is inconvenient.

“Garbage cans are a lot easier than recycling, because they’re everywhere and you don’t have to go out of your way,” said Jensen.

She began at Central Saanich council on May 22, where her father Carl is a councillor. Because of that, he declared a conflict of interest and left the room for his daughter’s presentation. At the microphone, she presented a three-point plan to educate, engage, and finally enact a ban. She believed smaller businesses should be consulted when making the transition, because they might have a harder time adjusting than a larger business.

In an interview, Jensen said councillors were “very open to the idea, adding they asked good questions and offered advice on how to take her proposal further.

Mayor Ryan Windsor said he was “biased towards the environment,” saying he bought canvas bags years ago. Coun. Niall Paltiel said a similar motion was brought forward to the CRD previously. In addressing Jensen’s plan, Paltiel suggested she could educate and engage initially, with the understanding that a shift to zero waste will take time. Councillors voted unanimously to include the topic in an upcoming edition of the Central Saanich newsletter.

Coun. Alicia Holman suggested Jensen apply for a sustainability grant-in-aid to educate the public about single-use plastic, which Jensen said she would do.

She will be presenting to Sidney and North Saanich in the coming weeks, and said she will reach out the City of Victoria to see how they enacted their ban as well as the CRD. She also wants to continue presenting to classrooms, having already presented to a Grade 7 class at Bayside and a kindergarten class at KELSET.

“I really want to tell the community that because it’s hard to tell the ocean is struggling unless you’ve seen it.”



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Local cadets gain acceptance to RMC

Military careers one step closer

New Star Cinema project approved

Cameo development gets unanimous council thumbs up

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

Witnesses sought for alleged drunk driver crash in Sidney

Crash happened June 16 on East Saanich Rd. and Canora Dr.

Fake crash warns students about real consequences

Saanich Peninsula emergency crews warn against distracted driving

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Most Read