Students at Chilliwack middle school are hoping to persuade the city to ban plastic bags, as other cities in Canada have already done. (John Boivin/ Black Press)

Chilliwack students petition city leaders to ban plastic bags

‘We are taking initiative to secure a healthy environment,’ says Grade 7 students

Students at Chilliwack middle school have challenged the city to ban plastic bags.

They’ve created their petition on change.org, and are asking people to sign and share the petition.

“We are students at Chilliwack Middle School and like other students around the world, we are taking initiative to secure a healthy environment, wherever that may be, for future generations, including ours,” the petition reads. “It is clear that our politicians are not doing enough; it is up to us, citizens, to protect our neck of the woods.”

The petition was written by members of the school’s Climate Change Awareness Club, and is headed by Grade 7 student Clara Markey, age 13. It is aimed at Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove, and is gaining a bit of support online from the community.

“Earlier this year we did a climate change unit in class, and ever since I’ve been really worried,” said Markey. “The big part of climate change is around plastic, so we thought this is a small thing we can do and hopefully we can do a little more in the future.”

The mayor says he is impressed with the students’ initiative.

Popove brought the issue to council about six months ago, and staff was looking into it. They are waiting to hear how a court challenge in Victoria goes before moving forward here, but Popove says in the meantime he’d love the chance to meet with the petitioning students.

He also believes a plastic bag ban in Chilliwack is possible, and worthwhile.

“I’m one hundred per cent for it,” he told The Progress. “I’m trying to wean myself off them as well, and we’ve got our cars all full of those little totes. It’s absolutely doable, just like with recycling.”

He welcomed the students to come meet with him and discuss their concerns.

“I’m passionate about that and if the kids want to come meet me, I think that’s great,” he added. “Anything I can do.”

The kids are equally excited about moving the idea forward.

“I’m signing because I live in Chilliwack and I helped start this petition to help the earth,” wrote Bethany Myers.

Chilliwack would be following the lead of other Canadian cities. Most recently, Tofino and Ucluelet banned plastic bags and straws.

READ MORE: Tofino, Ucluelet officially ban plastic bags and straws

On a recent Black Press story about that ban, comments from readers seem to vary in support of the idea.

Jesse Douglas commented that “much more should go than just plastic bags and straws but it is a huge start in the right direction!”

But Gavin Boss offered some counterpoints to the bans.

“Paper bags require four times more energy to produce than plastic bags, and they don’t even break down in modern landfills because of a lack of oxygen,” he wrote.

To see the petition, visit change.org.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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