State holds hearing to discuss possibility of plastic ban
The New Jersey Senate and Assembly Committees held a joint hearing Thursday to discuss the possibility of banning plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene in the state.
Several towns have already implemented their own rules about plastic bags and straw. Towns like Teaneck and Longport have put fees on plastic bags. Cities like Hoboken, Jersey City and a half-dozen communities along the shore have implemented full bans.
Gov. Phil Murphy has also confirmed that he will veto a bill to impose fees on plastic bags statewide. Environmentalists say it’s because he's preparing for the possibility of a full ban in the state.
One environmentalist showed up to the hearing in a dress made out of plastic bags, to show how long the plastic will outlive anyone wearing it.
“This is like a couple of days of use of bags for one family,” says Jennifer Heaney Borenius. “It is horrifying. They are unsustainable. They actually are very hot and you realize they’re not breathable and they’re going to be around for a very long time.”
Others who attended the hearing say that the chemicals in plastic are posting a health risk.
“Styrene is showing up in human breast milk. So this is a human health risk,” says Doug O’Malley, of Environment New Jersey.
State Sen. Bob Smith is sponsoring a bill to ban the plastics.
“This is not just about the mass of plastic that’s out in the ocean and that’s killing marine mammals,” he says. “Plastic materials are breaking down into microbeads, microfibers and they’re in our bodies.”
Sen. Smith says that the governor's office has communicated that the governor is "sympathetic" to the ban bill. The senator says that he wants to see the ban on plastic bags and straws on the governor's desk by the end of the year.