The environmental club went to city hall on September 18 to propose the idea of banning plastic bags in Port Coquitlam. Cayley Minty and Fatima Yaseen, previous students at Riverside Secondary who graduated last year, went to represent the environmental club.

The environmental club worked on this initiative throughout the 2017-2018 school year. The club had to first present their idea to the Environment and Sustainability Committee of Port Coquitlam. After they presented to them, they were then able to go before city hall with their idea.

Their goal was to get city hall to ban plastic bags in Port Coquitlam. Several cities in Canada have already banned plastic bags, such as Victoria and Toronto. Although the city council rejected their idea, Minty says it was a good start. “It felt really empowering to be able to speak in front of so many people that dictate what happens in our city,” said Minty.

Cayley and Fatima at city hall.

Ms. Jaquelyn Collins, a teacher at Riverside Secondary and advocate of the environmental club, says people at Riverside should jump on board and support this cause. “What we found out from the presentation is that we need people. The city council will respond if they see hundreds of people on board with this initiative,” said Collins. “Politicians do what the people they represent want. They need to see that there are tons of people supporting this initiative.”

Minty said if she were to change anything about the presentation, she would’ve included evidence of support from people. “I would have liked to survey more people and businesses on how they feel about switching to paper bags. I’d have loved to get even more feedback from people of Port Coquitlam,” said Minty.

The club was initially turned down the first time they asked if they could present to the city council, but after pushing they were able to present. “All we have to do is keep pushing to get the ban on plastic bags actually instated,” said Minty.

“There are endless ways to make the world a greener place, it just takes a little commitment. I hope the new club members are able to inspire others,” said Minty. “I wish for the club to make change happen, however they go about doing that.”

The environmental club meets Wednesday’s at lunch in room 109. “Anyone can join the club, we invite new members. We would love to see a huge club,” said Collins.