Sundridge council banning one-time use plastic water bottles at municipal sites

·3 min read

The days of using plastic water bottles in municipal-related facilities in the Village of Sundridge will soon end. Town council is supporting a resolution banning the use of disposable one-time use bottles and is encouraging the use of reusable bottles. Coun. Fraser Williamson introduced the motion at council's Oct. 13 meeting.

Williamson was appointed to council over the summer to fill a vacancy, and it so happened his first meeting in July lasted nearly six hours and wrapped up at 11:52 p.m.

During that lengthy meeting, Williamson recalls the deputy clerk giving members of council disposable plastic water bottles during a break. Williamson is a United Church minister, and at a recent annual meeting of the regional council, members drew up a lengthy resolution banning single-use plastic bottles. Williamson took that same resolution and used it as the framework to draft a resolution for Sundridge council. The council resolution states that the manufacture, refrigeration and transportation of one-time use plastic bottles takes a massive amount of fossil fuels, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Although plastic bottles are promoted as being recyclable, the resolution states that in some large cities, only about 50 percent of bottles are recycled, while the rest end up in landfills.

The resolution says there are instances where the volume of water bottles that make their way to local dumps is as high as 80 per cent.

It adds that landfills can't handle the amount of one-time use bottles ending up at garbage dumps. The resolution states plastic pollution is a hazard to public health and the human body, and that the “bottled water industry has worked hard to undermine our faith in public water.” The Sundridge town council resolution also points out that it takes three to five litres of water to produce every one litre plastic bottle. This means natural water reserves are being drained, “placing whole watersheds under threat.” In the resolution, there is a claim that Canada has “one of the best public drinking systems in the world,” and the resolution pushes the need for a National Water Policy. Not only would this policy be designed to further improve the public water system, legislation would be created to enshrine people's rights to public water and ensure all Canadian communities have clean drinking water standards, starting with First Nations.

One of the next steps the village is going to take is creating signs indicating that plastic water bottles are not welcome at municipal venues. Rather than drink from single-use bottles in a municipal building, visitors are being asked to bring reusable containers and refill them at water filling stations. As for speakers coming to the community, Mayor Lyle Hall said this group can be given reusable bottles. Hall added these containers can be made with information or images promoting the village and said staff can be outfitted with the same bottles. Sundridge plans to share its decision to ban plastic bottles with other municipalities in the hope that other town councils follow suit. As for Williamson, since attending his first meeting in July and drinking from a plastic water bottle, he now brings a reusable bottle to each council meeting.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget

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