Will Rossland Reduce Plastics? (Updated re time!)

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
May 27th, 2019

Rossland Reduces Plastics is the name of a group of residents concerned about the huge problem of plastic pollution; it’s a global crisis, approaching the magnitude of the climate crisis.  Members of this group are working to reduce Rossland’s contributions to the crisis.  They hope that Rosslanders will turn out in force at the public input session on June 3, immediately following a Public Hearing on a zoning bylaw which will start at 6:00 pm, at the Miners Hall,  to support reduction of single-use plastic bags by banning “check-out bags.”

Rossland’s “Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw #2691” has now had second reading at City Council, and Council scheduled the public input session to give residents an opportunity to speak out about how the City is addressing the plastic pollution crisis.

Some people don’t want any regulation of plastics; others think the bylaw doesn’t ban enough single-use plastics, and that it should also include things such as single-use plastic cups, straws, and cutlery. Everyone will have an opportunity to explain the reasons for their views at the Miners Hall on June 3.

Plastics are deadly

We know that less than 11% of plastics in Canada are recycled

We know that the oceans are contaminated with huge amounts of all sizes of plastic debris, and that those plastics are killing seabirds, whales and other cetaceans, turtles, and possibly every other form of marine life.  We know that plastic pollution is reducing the ability of the ocean’s phytoplankton to produce the oxygen that most living creatures on the earth, including humans, need to breathe.   We know that phytoplankton have historically produced about half the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere

We know that microscopic plastic particles are now found everywhere on earth’s surface, in the atmosphere and all water bodies – wetlands, lakes and streams.  We know that plastics absorb toxic chemicals and concentrate them in the organisms that ingest plastic particles. Research suggests that the microplastics in our air, water and food chain are not benign, but the full effects of their presence in our bodies’ cells is not yet known.

We know that huge amounts of plastics are manufactured now, compared with the amount produced a few decades ago, and that the largest category of plastic production is for packaging.  There’s a lot of information available on plastics, how they’re used, and where they end up.

We know that recycling of our trash is becoming more difficult.

Back here in Rossland . . .

In a brief interview with Lisa Wegner of the Rossland Reduces Plastics group, she expressed her hope for a good turn-out, and that both adults and their children will attend the public input session on June 3 at 6:00 pm.  She credited Rossland students with pressing for action on the plastic pollution crisis, much as young Greta Thunberg and other students world-wide have been pressing for action on the climate crisis.  “They’ve been instrumental in bringing it forward,” she declared.

Wegner has been hearing both support for the ban, and resistance to it, in the community. She thinks “it’s great that the City is opening this opportunity for public input.”

“It could open the door to more dialogue on banning more single-use plastics, and help educate people about their effects, and alternatives to using them,” she added.

Wegner says she is “excited about being part of a group that will be offering solutions and alternatives for a transition away from single-use plastics.”

If you have views on single-use plastics, please be at the Miners Hall by 6:00 on June 3, to speak immediately after the zoning bylaw Public Hearing, and tell your City Council — and fellow residents.

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