MEMS 5th-graders make case for bag ban

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Since we last spoke to the Manchester Select Board, many towns in Vermont have either proposed or passed a ban on thin-film, single-use plastic bags. Brattleboro banned these bags this summer. This makes stores and places to eat use only reusable bags, compostable plastic bags or paper bags. Wilmington will begin a ban this July with full support in their vote. Montpelier passed a ban this winter. Bennington and Middlebury have proposed to ban these plastic bags. Burlington has also proposed a policy that would not only ban these bags, but plastic straws, stirrers and Styrofoam food containers too. Why haven't we done anything yet? We have seen this ban work well in other towns and we want to join the movement towards less plastic in our environment.

We gathered over 250 signatures from Manchester voters who would support this ban. 99 percent of Manchester businesses said they will support it, too. We have about 200 signatures from the students of MEMS supporting the plastic bag ban in Manchester. The fifth-graders worked very hard by researching the negative effects of plastic bags. Then we went into all of our classrooms to talk to them about why we should ban plastic bags in Manchester. So we hope you can see that many students in our town recognize this is a problem and want the plastic bags banned.

We collaborated with BBA staff and students and local advocates to learn together and be proactive. We created signs to protest at the roundabout. During the protest, we got so many honks from cars and waves from people and we thought that meant they agreed with the ban. The plastic bag ban can help the environment. We would like to save our Earth and this is one of the ways to save it. We have to fix our planet now or else we will run out of time.

We think this is still important because it's polluting our environment, our water, our animals, and our air. It's killing our wildlife and us. We use 5 trillion plastic bags worldwide in a year. That's 160,000 every second! When these bags are produced, they use fossil fuels. They are filling up our landfills, clogging up recycling machines, and polluting our beautiful land. Other countries and states have already passed this ban and have been successful, so why can't we? If we don't ban them, the plastic bag you used at the store may still be around by the time your grandkids are 40. For a state who prides itself on protecting our environment, why do we still have plastic bags when we know it is destroying us and our environment?

"Ban plastic feel fantastic!"

This letter was written by MEMS fifth-graders and was read during Manchester's town meeting.

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