The Newport City Council passed a resolution 6-1 on Wednesday night calling for an ordinance to establish the ban of single-use plastic bags which pollute waterways and cause damage to the environment.
“Single-use plastic bags cause irreparable harm to our oceans and waterways, and the time has come to phase them out,” said Councilor Florez. “Thousands of Newport residents live on the ocean, and so many of our workers rely on the ocean to make a living. Additionally, Newport thrives on the tourism of millions of visitors every year coming to our city to visit or experience the ocean. We owe it to ourselves to act now and protect our oceans and waterways for future generations.”
The resolution commits the Newport City Council to develop an ordinance which would phase out the use of single-use plastic shopping bags in the city. If such an ordinance passed, Newport would become the second municipality in Rhode Island to phase out plastic bags, after Barrington, and would join over a hundred municipalities nationwide who have passed similar measures.
According to Environment Rhode Island, hundreds of millions of plastic shopping bags are used in the Ocean State each year, most for just a single use. Furthermore, according to a study from the U.S. Marine Debris Monitoring Program, plastic bags remain one of the most commonly-found items during beach clean-ups. Plastic bags in the ocean do not biodegrade, but break into micro plastic particles which expose ocean food sources to synthetic materials and toxins.
“Whether they are clogging our wastewater treatment plants, poisoning our food sources, or littering our beaches, single-use plastic bags cause too many dangers to our city and our state,” said Councilor Florez. “The city of Newport must take the initiative to phase out single-use plastic bags and protect the Ocean State’s most valuable natural treasures.”