War on Plastic Bags Continues As Massachusetts Senate Tries To Save the Whales

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/07/13/war-on-plastic-bags-continues-as-massachusetts-senate-tries-to-save-the-whales/

By Colin Young
State House News Service

The Massachusetts Senate went on record again Thursday in favor of a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags with sponsors pointing to the harm such bags have done to whales, but then rejected a proposal whose sponsor said was intended to reduce the risk of sea mammal entanglement.

Debating an environmental bond bill, the Senate adopted a state Senator Jamie Eldridge amendment to ban stores from providing single-use carryout bags to customers at the point of sale starting in August 2019.

Speaking on the amendment, Eldridge (D-Acton) mentioned a whale that died in Thailand in June and was found to have 80 plastic bags in its stomach.

“There is no need for our sealife or wildlife to have such an ending of their lives,” Eldridge said.

State Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) also spoke in favor of the amendment, holding up a photo of a whale and pointing senators to the Internet to find examples of other animals dying as a result of plastic bag waste.

“If we care not only about our environment but we care about those that live in the ocean and we care about our children and our future, we cannot have these plastic bags strewn around,” Creem said.

Later Thursday, the Senate rejected an amendment that Minority Leader Bruce Tarr filed to remove the requirement that all lobster and crab traps in the waters of Gosnold each be attached to its own line.

Arguing for his amendment, Tarr said that if each trap must be strung on its own line — rather than using one line for several traps as is customary elsewhere — the risk of whale and other marine life entanglement is greater. Tarr’s amendment was rejected.