Pearl City Students Join Effort To Reduce Use Of Plastic Bags

On Feb. 9 hundreds of paper and plastic bags lined the lawn of the state Capitol. The trash was a display created by supporters of Hawaii’s “Bag Bill” (HB 2260 and SB 2511) to demonstrate the 400 single-use bags consumed by one individual per year, on average. The bill would implement a statewide fee on single-use paper and plastic bags in an effort to reduce consumption of these products.

Kainoa Keauli'i

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Kainoa Keauli'i of Pearl City talked about the benefits of the 'Bag Bill' at the Capitol Feb. 9. Photos courtesy Sun Kim, Olomana Loomis-ISC.

Supporters of the “Bag Bill,” including state Sen. Mike Gabbard, Surfrider Foundation Hawaii coordinator Stuart Coleman, and director of Sierra Club Hawaii chapter Robert Harris, gathered at the Capitol Feb. 9 to testify on the bill before the Senate. Students from colleges, high schools and elementary schools across the island also have been involved in efforts to support the bill. Kalani High School student Diane Sellner helped organize the plastic bag display.

“We need to make a more sustainable future for Hawaii,” Sellner said at the demonstration.

Student council members of Pearl City Highlands Elementary School submitted written testimony to the Senate urging the legislators to pass the bill. Kainoa Keauli’i, a fourthgrader at Pearl City Highlands Elementary, spoke at the Capitol about the benefits of the bill on behalf of the student council.

“Making people pay for their plastic bags would help protect Hawaii’s sea life and preserve our environment, especially if the money is used for that cause,” Keauli’i said.

Keauli’i has been working to garner support for the initiative at his school and was responsible for gathering signatures for the student council’s letter.