'Need to address plastic pollution'

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On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Beloit, I am writing to you about Wisconsin bill AB 177, which addresses the growing problem of plastic waste pollution.

Plastic waste pollution is a large, complex and thorny problem, and it is projected to get worse. It is not just the disposable bottles that are piling up, but also industrial wastes. The Center for International Environmental Law predicts that "just as the world is coming to realize the dangers of plastic pollution and take action to prevent it, the petrochemical industry is poised to invest billions to expand plastic production by 40 percent in the next few decades. If they succeed, plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050."

Local units of government in Wisconsin are tasked by laws and regulations to manage Municipal Solid Waste, yet a state law passed in 2015 restricts the authority of local government units to regulate reusable or single-use disposable containers, especially waste plastics.

Fortunately, a bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin state legislature to address the growing problem of plastic waste pollution. On April 18 it was assigned to the Assembly Committee on Local Government, headed by Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville).

To effectively address and manage plastic waste pollution will require manufacturers, businesses, governmental and consumer policy-makers to work together. The first step is for Rep. Novak to schedule a hearing this fall on AB 177.

It is critically important for our community that this issue gets the attention of our local lawmakers. Please contact your legislators directly with regard to Wisconsin bill AB 177.

Patricia Zody

League of Women Voters

Beloit

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