Students in North Saanich find local business supportive of banning single-use plastic bags.
The children of Deep Cove Elementary conducted a survey of 57 Sidney businesses, finding 50 in favour of a plastic bag ban.
Last week, two classes walked around Sidney and polled businesses to see if they would support the ban. With the positive feedback, they then contacted Coun. Sara Duncan who presented on their behalf to Sidney council, with Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith offering words of encouragement in response.
At a Monday assembly, 9-year-old Margot Arndt stood up in front of the school and delivered a presentation on the survey and talked about an online petition she set up.
“I don’t think plastic bags are the best thing for the environment. I’ve seen pictures of turtles, they get them trapped around their shells and they eat them,” she says.
Maria St. Amand and teacher Louise Beaudry had the idea for the survey and Beaudry’s school club, Planet Protectors, discussed the issue. In the past, the club has focused on composting and recycling but over the past two years it has shifted to focus on plastic use and pollution.
“We’re taking action to be positive,” she says, “It’s time for a re-think. You know the three Rs? [Reduce, Reuse and Recycle], well we added two more: the first is Re-think and the second is Refuse.”
In the assembly, after Arndt had presented, the children were treated to a video made by teacher Candice Lee featuring members of the school. In it, they ran through practical ideas on how to reduce plastic use, such as using mesh bags at the grocery store and reusing coffee cups at the coffee shop, instead of accepting disposable cups.
Plastic bags are seen as one of the biggest culprits in marine pollution and there has been recent alarming news of microplastics entering the human diet. However, critics question if the alternatives are in place yet, with shoppers that forget a reusable bag often hit with plastic bag charges at the till, or given weak and unwieldy paper bags.