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Pelham Manor Bag Discussion Continues With Board

PELHAM MANOR, N.Y. – The Pelham Manor Board of Trustees continued its discussion with the public on a possible ban of plastic bags and replacement with paper bags, due to environmental concerns.

The discussion started when a resident asked Trustee Ray Vandenberg about a 2007 study on how paper bags are less harmful to the environment than plastic bags, which he brought up at the board’s May 14 meeting

Vandenberg said he would email the resident the study and suggested that the community look at something more comprehensive than banning plastic bags. The board and additional members of the community need “more time to look at it,” because not enough people have had a chance to speak on the issue, he said.

The debate on paper versus plastic bags began in Pelham Manor during the board’s May 14 meeting, when resident Sydney MacInnis said the village must look at using reusable paper bags.

“Nonbiodegradable plastic bags are often discarded into the environment and end up polluting our waterways, clogging sewers, endangering marine life and causing unsightly litter,” MacInnis said at the meeting in May. “These bags last hundreds of years in landfills and are potential sources of harmful chemicals when they break down.”

Several places, including Rye and Los Angeles, have similar bans, MacInnis said. Hawaii has also approved a statewide ban. The ban was also discussed at the Pelham Board of Trustees meeting May 8. Produce and meat bags, garment bags and plastic bags of a particular dimension would be excluded from the ban.

A resident spoke up against the ban during the meeting and said that Pelham Manor is not a "nanny state." He said that a solution would be to offer paper and plastic, while letting the people decide.

Mayor Jim O’Connor was absent from the meeting, but he said at the May 14 meeting that he would “seek input from other constituents,” including Pelham Manor store owners, residents and members of local boards that have been presented or passed the ordinance.”

During the meeting, Pelham Manor Fire Chief Joseph Ruggiero brought up the May 17 boat fire at the New York Athletic Club, which he said caused losses in the millions and the destruction of six boats.

The Pelham Manor Fire Department was first to respond, followed by the New Rochelle Fire Department. Ruggiero was “not venturing a guess as to what caused it” and said the investigation was New Rochelle’s responsibility.

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