School Committee: Students propose plastic water bottle ban

students bottle water presentation photo from Rebecca Silva

June 5, 2019 by Carol Britton Meyer; photo submitted by Rebecca Silva

A group of elementary school students made their case for banning the sale of bottled water in the Hingham Public Schools to the School Committee Monday night.

Citing the negative environmental impacts of bottled water,  students highlighted the fact that plastics in the marine environment don't biodegrade, but instead break into smaller pieces and harm marine life, among other concerns.

After doing research, the students estimated that each of the four elementary schools sells about 100 bottles of water every day, which adds up to 70,000 bottles sold during the school year at the elementary schools alone.

Their request coincides with this year's Town Meeting vote in suport of banning single-use plastic bags starting later this year.

"As the teacher member of this team, I am so proud of the hard work the following students did to have a successful presentation before the seven-member school committee Monday night: John Borowiecki, Ian Uiterwyk, Charlotte McViney, Caroline Silva, Maggie DeYoung, Rachel Kolet, and Kimya Howell," Vernon said.

The slides presented by the students explained that enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times time and that only 14 perent of plastic packaging is recycled. Something else the students learned from their research is that birds can eat enough plastic to fill their stomach equivalent to the size of 12 pizzas -- a compelling piece of information.

Several students shared what they had learned with the School Committee, including Rachel.  “I want to make a difference in my community.  I want to make sure that my future and the future of all my friends, fellow students, and family and you have a healthy and beautiful environment," she said.

Plymouth River School students displayed a poster signed by many students supporting the effort to remove plastic water bottles from the schools.  A School Committee member inquired about the availability of water filtration stations.

The Committee appreciated hearing the students' message and may take action at a future time following research of their own on this issue.

The students were encouraged to continue to educate their peers -- and grownups -- to help bring about positive environmental change. Overall, this opportunity to share their ideas was a very positive experience for the students and a chance to participate in local government.

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