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Local high school students push for Erie County plastic bag ban

Posted at 11:00 AM, Apr 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 05:50:27-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It was just another unit in Eve Shippens environmental science class at East High School… so she thought. But when she realized how engaged her students were regarding the harmful effects plastics can have on the environment, Shippens knew more could be done.

“I don’t talk a lot in class, raise my hand or ask questions but I raised my hand for every single thing she told us… I was very interested in this topic and I couldn’t believe [this extent of plastic pollution] was going on today,” 10th grader, Kristin Clarke, said.

Shippens was browsing through Facebook when she came across the Buffalo Common Council’s agenda towards the end of March, one of the topics- local styrofoam and plastic use.

“And I said this is too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Shippens said.

Her entire class had planned on writing letters to state officials, advocating to ban single-use plastics and styrofoam. Instead, she had them address the common council.

“I was really nervous because I don’t normally do good talking in front of people but I was really proud of myself with how I approached it,” Sophia Arcuri said, after she read her letter in front of the council.

Letters were concerned over the effect plastic can have on the environment and the health effects it can also have on humans. While all the students would like to see a ban at the state level, Shippers says it may be best for them to address the school board first to see if a school-wide ban is possible. In the meantime they plan on assembling a group of like-minded students and forming an environmental club to discuss these pressing, timely topics.