All photos by Jason Paluck
LONG BEACH, NY – July 19, 2016 – The BYO Bag LB campaign and over 125 supporters rallied at City Hall before the City Council’s meeting, requesting that the city take action on single-use plastic bag pollution.
They debuted over 2,512 signatures from residents, visitors, and business owners in support of city action. A mural of reminder easily wrapped around the plaza: 500 plastic bags tied end to end -the average person’s annual usage.
“Of the thousands of shoppers, merchants, and visitors we have talked to, the overwhelming majority support this community-building positive change,” said George Povall, Director of All Our Energy. “Pricing ‘free’ checkout bags, which become either waste or pollution after just 12 minutes of use, encourages you to bring your own bag.”
Large artful signs, many handmade by students, included a sea turtle from plastic bags and giant reusable bag. Four members of the Stewards of the Sea Youth Team jumped in it and sang “All we are saying…is bring your own bag!”
“The voices of our Long Beach children are in their artwork (calling) for a non-plastic ridden tomorrow,” Said Laura O’Shaughnessy-Swan, Coordinator for Stewards of the Sea. “This must begin at home with the support of our Long Beach City Council’s elimination of single use plastic bag pollution.”
The first speaker was Finn Ashmead, a high school senior who started a student petition and acquired hundreds of signatures, which inspired another dozen students to do the same. “This ordinance is a very simple step we can take to reduce our local pollution, and make Long Beach a much cleaner place”.
Leah Tozer of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce introduced their letter of support for action. “Plastic pollution is a pervasive problem that hurts our city’s assets and natural resources. We want to solve that problem together, for the benefit of our city, our residents and Chamber of Commerce members.”
“I am here as a City Council Member in support of a reusable bag ordinance,” City Councilwoman Eileen Goggin said. “I am committed to making this happen”. Council Member Anissa Moore also pledged support for bringing the community together to solve this problem. City Council President Len Torres also spoke in favor and then brought the sentiment in to the city council meeting where he spoke of taking action on the issue.
Local environmentalist Scott Bochner underscored this same sentiment, saying, “This is a legacy issue for the City of Long Beach and for our children. Long Beach will lead and be the first community in Nassau County to pass legislation to eliminate single use plastic bags.”