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The Pel Mel

Pelham Thinks Plastic is Drastic

Maddie Mullany, Junior, Staff Reporters

Students around the country have been empowered to find their own voices and express their political activism following the events in Parkland, Florida. Whether it’s sparking protests, walkouts, or boycotts, young people are discovering their political voice. But their focus is not just on school safety or gun control; students nationwide are determined to make sure the world they grow up to inherit is one that is clean, with drinkable water and breathable air. Students are recognizing that whether it is by killing marine life, littering beaches, or clogging waste landfills and streams, the rising presence of plastic pollution is a huge threat to the survival of our planet. Each year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 to celebrate the beautiful planet we call home and to fight for environmental protection and awareness. This year, events around the world took place to raise awareness on the growing global problem of single-use plastics, including one right here in Pelham. Pelham Eliminates Plastics (PEP), an all-kid run environmental organization in Pelham, mostly comprised of PMHS students, hosted an event at the town gazebo to raise awareness and promote change for eliminating plastics in oceans across the globe.

The event was sponsored by the town of Pelham and reusable grocery give-away bags were donated by DeCicco & Sons. Displayed on tables, poster boards showcased important facts and statistics about single-use plastics for people to read and learn about the issue from PEP members. In an effort to make people more aware of their own plastic usage, PEP offered worksheets to calculate the amount of plastic you personally use in one month. In addition, PEP had fun performances and trivia to get people entertained and involved. Junior Violet Massie-Vereker, and freshmen Sophia Leung and Ella Burns of PMHS’s acapella group, the Acapelicans, performed Jack Johnson’s Upside Down, and senior Gavin Woods, played the guitar. Members of PEP offered sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to common plastic disposables with a list of what to use instead of common daily single-use plastics. They also gave out biodegradable cups of fresh lemonade and snacks as well as stainless steel water bottles, bamboo utensils and more, donated by musician and environmentalist Jack Johnson. The Environmental Coalition of Pelham (Eco-Pel) and Solarize Westchester also partnered with PEP and had a table at the event to promote their efforts as well as answer any questions the public may have had.

Westchester County has recently proposed a bill that would ban plastic bags from store checkout lines, and give paper bags a tax of ten cents. Restaurants and food-service establishments will also not be able to sell or provide plastic containers such as styrofoam.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day, End Plastic Pollution, helped shed light on the worldwide issue. Items such as straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles and cups, etc., are creating a critical problem. However, there are many small ways to reduce plastic waste in daily life that can make a big difference. For example, using reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and coffee cups, and avoiding plastic straws and containers are all ways to lessen the amount of plastic waste you personally accumulate. New York may soon follow on the heels of California, which recently passed a law prohibiting the use of plastic bags and which proposed a bill that would make it illegal for restaurants to give out straws unless requested by a customer. England is trending towards a ban on cotton buds and plastic straws next year as well. Even Live Nation Concerts and Coachella banned plastic straws this year!

In addition, there are many organizations reaching out to make a difference on the issue, specifically Lonely Whale and their campaign for a Strawless Ocean. There are also a countless number of personal precautions that can be taken that can make a huge difference, even if there are no laws for it yet. Replacing plastic bags with canvas tote bags, jute bags, or bags made from recycled material is a great way to individually make a difference.

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The School Newspaper of Pelham Memorial High School
Pelham Thinks Plastic is Drastic