Friday, December 11, 2009

Fort McMurray’s ban on plastic bag bylaw

Fort McMurray, Alberta, the Tar Sands Capital of the World, passed a bylaw on Tuesday that bans single-use shopping bags in an attempt to clean up both its image and the environment.

Ironically the rest of the province should look to this north-eastern Alberta community, not exactly known for its progressive green behaviours, as an example of environmental action and community initiative by a young person.

An ambitious high school student in the community collected a measly 2,500 signatures from the city’s 64,441 residents on a petition in support of a ban on shopping bags such as plastic and paper or biodegradable shopping bags last year. The petition was tabled by council in the spring.

Mayor Melissa Blake said there was surprisingly little opposition to the bylaw. “My initial reaction was surprise about how much public support there really was throughout the entire process," she said.

Of course she’s surprised. Won’t this ban cut into oil profits for the region?

While they’re not shutting down the tar sands or slowing the pace of development, their effort needs to be recognized and lauded.

With files from Cigdem Iltan, Edmonton Journal

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