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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Guam bill would lead to plastic bag ban

Public hearing on proposed legislation features 'bag person' with 500 bag couture dress

There's not much question that non-recyclable plastics, most notably the kind of bags we all deal with every day, are a threat to the Guam and Pacific environment. Should it have been a big surprise that there are huge islands of plastic waste forming throughout our region? Probably not. The "bag lady," Gabriella Palaski, who created her unique outfit with 500 non-recyclable plastic bags, said that's about how many such bags Guam residents go through in a year.

That's the background of a bill proposed by Guam Sen. Regine Biscoe-Lee, which got a youth-dominated public hearing Thursday.

Biscoe-Lee's bill, originally proposed by Guam's Youth Congress, would do everything imaginable to discourage, scale back and eventually prohibit, plastic bags.

According to the legislation, in 2016 along, more than 8,000 bags washed up on Guam's shores.

"This problem is not just out there somewhere spiraling in a great, plastic garbage patch. It is here, on Guam, on our island," Bisco-Lee said. "The economic and environmental consequences of overuse and improper disposal of plastics to our island must be stressed. Tourism, for example, is our leading economic industry and I challenge it to take action to protect our destination before we have a crisis such as there has been in Boracay in the Philippines, where they've closed the entire island to tourists."

If it seemed at times as if non or first time voters were exclusively weighing in on the issue, declared Guam Senate candidate Lasia Casil was in full-throated support.

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