The Good Hope Class of 2011 started working on the campaign to “Say No to Plastic Bags” as part of their class project in January 2008 at the urging of their class adviser Ingrid Camacho. And Friday morning, they testified before the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection at the Legislature’s Frits E. Lawaetz Conference Room on St. Croix
After years of newspaper ads, road signs, banners, supermarket billboards and selling reusable bags, the students testified a week before graduation in an effort to help encourage a bill that would implement a 10 cent fee for plastic bags in supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores before ultimately banning them completely at those venues.
Class of 2011 president Shenique Jeremiah and seniors Malcom Edwards, Carisma Bishop and Eric Guzman testified before the committee.
“You, we, and the entire community must recognize the urgency of finding an immediate solution to reducing the tremendous amount of solid waste in our territory,” Jeremiah said. “The time for excuses has passed. It is time to put a measure in place now.”
Jeremiah also said the Anguilla Landfill, which is where most of the plastic bags end up, is a threat to human health when underground fires occur and argued that its location next to the airport is not a positive first impression for tourists.
She said the measure would make a significant difference and have an immediate positive impact on the island.
“We strongly believe that these little bags are directly connected not only to our economic and financial growth because of tourism, but to our health and the future of our beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands and our planet,” Jeremiah said.