Local students and community members gathered at the Queen Anne’s County Council meeting last week to address the pressing issue of single-use plastic pollution. Genevieve Henrietta, a junior at Kent Island High School and an environmental advocate, submitted a petition with 65 signatures supporting the elimination of single-use plastic bags in the county.
Henrietta, a student leader with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a regular volunteer with Kent Island Beach Cleanups, spoke passionately about her experiences with plastic pollution along the shores and wetland areas of the Chesapeake Bay.
Bente Cooney, a representative of Plastic Free QAC, highlighted several Maryland jurisdictions who have already enacted similar bans, including Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Chestertown, College Park, Easton, Howard County, Laurel, Montgomery County, Salisbury, Takoma Park, and Westminster. Next week, Prince George’s County is set to pass a similar bill, while other municipalities like Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Frederick City, and Annapolis are also considering or drafting legislation. Centreville is expected to introduce a similar proposal in May.
The proposed ban targets single-use plastic carryout bags typically provided by grocery stores and other retailers. Certain exceptions would be allowed, such as bags for meat, fish, and other items that require plastic packaging. The proposal does not affect other single-use plastics, such as straws or cups in restaurants.
To encourage consumers to bring their reusable bags, the proposed legislation would require retailers to charge a 10-cent fee for each paper bag. The fee would go directly to the retailers, with no tax implications. The hope is that the fee will serve as a reminder for customers to bring reusable bags and ultimately reduce the consumption of single-use bags.
Queen Anne County’s consideration of a plastic bag ban reflects the growing awareness and desire for environmental sustainability across Maryland.
This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Plastic Free QAC please go here.