WADSWORTH — An Overlook Elementary School fourth-grader has taken his fight for environmental conservation before City Council.
Carter Parsons, 10, has written letters to council members and Mayor Robin Laubaugh seeking a straw and plastic bag ban, urging officials to consider measures similar to recently passed legislation in Cuyahoga County and other communities around the country.
He was invited to give a presentation to Council at its June 4 meeting.
“It kind of started with a New Year’s resolution for me and my mom after we watched some videos about plastic waste,” Carter said Monday. “It really means a lot to me to reduce waste, and we both wanted to do something about it. So much plastic ends up in the ocean where it never decomposes and ends up being eaten by animals.”
“My mom suggested to write some letters, so I did,” he added.
Carter backed up his words with hard numbers, such as National Geographic Magazine studies that point to 18 billion tons of plastic waste flowing from costal regions into the ocean each year. Forty percent of plastic that’s manufactured is put toward single-use packaging and then discarded, he said. U.S. consumers reflect that statistic by using on average one plastic bag per day while shoppers in Denmark go through four plastic bags per year, according to National Geographic.
Increased waste poses immediate threats to humans who consume seafood that’s been contaminated with microplastics, Parsons said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that the country will ban single-use plastics, joining a growing global coalition that includes a statewide ban in New York that was announced in March along with similar measures in California and Hawaii. The European Union also voted in March to ban the 10 single-use plastics most commonly found in the ocean, such as disposable meal utensils and plates.
Laubaugh said City Council has not held any formal discussions on a single-use plastic ban but complimented Parsons on his initiative and presentation.
“Certainly, I think everyone has a responsibility to make sure they’re doing their best in keeping our community clean,” she said. “It’s a responsibility to be mindful of trash and extra debris we sometimes accumulate. Mr. Parsons did a great job coming before Council and making his recommendation.”
A career in environmentalism, preferably dealing with invention of new technology, is a path being considered by Parsons. He would like to see one of Main Street Wadsworth’s First Friday events be dedicated to the idea of banning single-use plastics.
“I’ve always wanted to be an inventor, and if it could be related to the environment it would make me really happy,” he said. “There’s little things all of us can do every day to help like using bamboo toothbrushes and buying milk in glass bottles. It’s $3 more at Giant Eagle, but if you return the bottle you get $2 or $3 back. You can use metal straws instead of plastic ones and you can use your own take-home containers at restaurants.”