Four local groups have come together to co-sign a letter to the city asking for them to ban single-use plastic bags, as other communities either have already done or are currently considering doing. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River City Council urged to ban plastic bags

Four local organizations have co-signed a letter, hoping to spur action on reducing plastic use

Four local advocacy groups are calling on the City of Campbell River to ban single-use plastic bags, following in the footsteps of other municipalities, such as Victoria, who have already done so.

A letter co-signed by Richard Hagensen of the Campbell River Chapter of the Council of Canadians, Leona Adams of the Campbell River Environmental Committee, Bonnie Brownstein of the Quadra Island chapter of Sierra Club BC and Lois Jarvis of Citizens for Quality Health Care, was sent to the city and formally received at the most recent council meeting.

The groups say they are “deeply concerned at the rising tidal wave of plastic pollution affecting our planet,” and they are urging the city to “play its own (small) part in responding to the crisis and consider single-use plastic bag ban as part of an effort to both reduce plastic pollution and promote awareness of and a conversation around what is now a major international problem.”

Single-use plastic bags, the group says, “are widely recognized as a significant source of unnecessary plastic pollution. Lightweight, they blow out of trash bins and landfills and are found along roadsides or floating in water, where they present a danger to both environment and wildlife.”

Major cities all over the world – and, in fact, the entire state of California – have been banning their use for some time, the group says. Here on Vancouver Island, Victoria enacted a ban earlier this year, Nanaimo is currently exploring options after council voted in favour of a ban in December last year.

“Saanich is working on a bylaw to phase-out single-use plastic bags and a ban is currently under discussion in Cumberland,” the group says. “We request Campbell River follow suit.”

The signatories of the letter received by council also question where the city’s dedication to this cause has gone over the past decade.

“Campbell River once had an ‘Environmental Vision and Strategy’ for the city,” the letter says. “During Earth Week 2008, the City of Campbell River hosted a screening of the documentary film, Addicted To Plastic, and an informational leaflet covered all the problems just discussed. Since 2008, the situation has only worsened. We need to acknowledge the seriousness of plastic pollution and begin work on behalf of a sustainable future for our oceans and our children. We ask that the city again conduct an awareness campaign around the issue of single-use plastics and plastic pollution, backing up words with action by joining the growing movement to ban single-use plastic bags, or by implementing a combination of bag bans and fees.”

Based on the response to the Mirror’s Facebook post earlier this year when Victoria initiated its ban, Campbell Riverites seem to be in favour of at least considering it. The overwhelming commentary on the post was in favour of the change coming to Campbell River, as well, with many saying they were either already using cloth or other re-usable bags or would be more than happy to give up the single-use ones in favour of doing so.