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Junior high students encourage HRM to reduce plastic use

George P. Vanier Junior High School students ask councillors to be mindful of the environment

3 min read
caption Students wear T-shirts with slogans to persuade counsillors
caption The students wore T-shirts with slogans to persuade councillors.

On Thursday, the Environmental and Sustainability Standing Committee passed a motion for regional council to discuss plastic bag reduction, after hearing from a group of concerned students.

Four students from George P. Vanier Junior High School created T-shirts and a slideshow to encourage the committee to consider the environment’s future. The students suggested Halifax help clean waterways by reducing the use of plastic and educating the community on the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.  

“It’s important because once we saw what was happening, it was honestly just scary and it’s going to get so much bigger,” said Sam McInnis, one of the students, after the meeting. 

The students would also like to partner up with local celebrities to create public service announcements, encouraging people to be environmentally mindful.

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Councillors applauded the students after their presentation.

Coun. Tony Mancini said he would be happy to help the students with their project. Coun. Shawn Cleary said when it comes to the three R’s, reducing consumption is most important.

“Do we really want them having to deal with all our plastic laying around,” said Cleary, referring to the students.

The committee is recommending that regional council discuss options for a unified approach to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags in Nova Scotia.

“We have a real problem here in HRM,” said Mancini.

Mancini said plastic bags are one of the top things littering our environment, often finding plastic bags in our waterways.

“There needs to be consequences,” said Coun. Lisa Blackburn. “Convenience comes with a cost. We’ve been enjoying the conveniences, but we haven’t been paying the piper and, I think, now is the time.”

Several other councillors said consumer behaviour plays a large role in plastic bag use.

Student Dominic Sorhaindo said he feels good sharing his ideas with councillors and had fun learning they care about the future.

“These four (students) are going to continue to push forward and talk to more people,” Marc Steele, a father of one of the students, told The Signal. “With these guys it’s about public awareness.”

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