Jessica OrbonAug 23, 2018, 2:46 pmAug 23, 2018, 4:50 pm

After governor vetoes plastic bag fee, activists in Toms River push for complete ban

Activists: ‘Bans work, fees don’t!’

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TOMS RIVER – Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee held a hearing on Thursday in order to listen to speakers talk about why a bill that would charge a fee for single-use plastic bags should not be passed. Midway through the hearing, it was announced Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed the bag fee bill. Instead, the speakers want a more comprehensive bill that has been put forward in the New Jersey State Senate, which would ban not only single-use bags, but plastic straws and certain forms of styrofoam to pass.

More than 20 towns and cities across New Jersey have already banned the use of plastic bags.

“Bans work, fees don't” was the message scientists and environmental activists are sending in the hopes of making New Jersey a national leader in the movement against single-use plastic items.

"Where there is a ban, like in Los Angeles County, we saw 94 percent drop in plastic bag uses. In Contra Costa County, once they passed a ban, they found an 89 percent reduction of plastic bags in storm drains," New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittle said. "It's a major move forward environmentally in protecting public health, protecting the environment, marine mammals, and everything else, and I’d like to see that bill passed. That's what we want."

Panelists spoke of the harm that plastic is doing, not just to animals, but to people as well.

"And just in the air it's floating around. A recent study estimated that 114 plastic fibers fall on your plate during each meal, and I can get you more studies of course," Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Zipf said.

Activists are hoping to see the comprehensive single-use plastic item ban bill up for a vote by the end of the year.

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