Presentation by single-use plastics advocates prompts positive reactions and concerns in Canton
BY PAUL MITCHELL
North Country This Week
CANTON -- An informative presentation by proponents of a single use plastics ban in the Town of Canton was greeted positively by town board members Thursday night but several concerns were raised.
A push to ban or drastically curtail the use and disposal of plastic straws and stirrers in the town of Canton is underway with both the town and village exploring the concept.Ann Heidenreich, who sits on the town’s Sustainability Committee, was joined by Kathleen Stein, president of the St. Lawrence County League of Women Voters who has joined the move to potentially ban single use plastics.
“The problem is enormous. It’s huge,” said Stein. “We need to find a way to raise awareness in a small local way to deal with what is a global issue. We need to recycle more and reuse more. I urge you to pass this ordinance.”
“The issue needs to be brought before the public that plastics are harmful. There are lots of reasons we can eliminate them,” said Heidenreich. “An opportunity to do public education would be great. I hope you all agree that we move ahead.”
Both councilmen and the town supervisor introduced stumbling blocks for a comprehensive single use plastics ban.
“It would be a very difficult thing for us to police,” said James Smith. “Education starting in the schools with the kids is a very good way of moving forward. The kids are very good about bringing things home and discuss with their parents.”
Councilman Bob Washo said this discussion needs to be held in concert with the village board, saying it’s the village where the majority of the single plastic use and littering takes place.
“We need to see where the village is going with this,” stated Washo.
“Let’s get the conversation started and match language with the village,” said Councilman David Nelson.
Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley said she supported an educational campaign but also expressed concerns about enforcement.
Both Stein and Heidenreich said they would contact municipalities with ordinances in place to see how they are dealing with issues such as enforcement.
The single use plastics issue is expected to be discussed at its monthly board meeting on Sept. 15.