Students ask for ban on plastic shopping bags

Summerland Secondary School proposal based on bylaw in place in Victoria

Civics 11 students from Summerland Secondary School are asking council to ban plastic shopping bags within Summerland.

“The amount of plastic that ends up in our landfill is devastating,” Justin Singh, one of the students, told Summerland council members at a recent presentation.

He added that nearly 52 tonnes of plastic bags ended up in the municipal landfill in 2016.

The plastics do not biodegrade and can take up to 1,000 years to break down, said Jenna Duck, another student in the class.

“Plastic is essentially everywhere we go,” she said.

The students have started a petition with more than 400 signatures.

They have also received letters of support from Summerland businesses supportive of a bag ban.

Olivia Corps, a student in the class, said plastic bag bans are already in place in other communities, including Victoria and Montreal.

Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said municipal representatives will meet with the students and will present a report to council on how a plastic bag ban could be implemented.

“If you’re going to have a bylaw, you have to think it all the way through,” she said.

Dave Stathers, Civics 11 teacher at the high school, said it is now up to council to determine if a ban could be implemented locally, and if so, how it would be done.

“We came to council with an idea, a proposal for a bylaw,” he said.

“It’s up to them to investigate it and promote it.”

The Civics 11 class will conclude later this month, and it will not be offered next year.

Stathers said the students could revisit the bag ban later, through the leadership class or another class in the school, or they could form a club, with teacher sponsorship, to continue their efforts to ban plastic bags in Summerland.

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