State lawmakers could stop local governments from taxing plastic bags

Capital News Service
LANSING —Environmental and recycling groups fear the passage of a state bill that would restrict how local governments manage plastic waste and litter. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, would prohibit local governments from banning or placing a fee or tax on plastic bags. Washtenaw County passed an ordinance in June that would put a 10-cent fee on plastic bags used at grocery stores. Other counties, such as Muskegon County, have discussed similar programs.
The bill would make those ordinances irrelevant and create a uniform law to allow businesses to operate smoothly, Stamas said. The bill passed the Senate in May and had a hearing in the House Committee on Commerce and Trade.

Pockets of plastic plague Great Lakes, researchers find

Capital News Service
LANSING — Plastic pollutants circulate in pockets of the Great Lakes at concentrations higher than any other body of water on Earth, according to a recent study. The study is the first to look at plastic pollutants in the Great Lakes and is part of a larger global endeavor to understand the origin and prevalence of plastic pollution in water. “We had two samples in Lake Erie that we just kept going back and rechecking the data, because the count, the number of plastic particles in the sample, was three times greater than any sample collected anywhere in the entire world,” said chemistry professor and project leader Sherri Mason of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. Mason’s team of 20 students embarked this summer aboard the US Brig Niagara, the rebuilt flagship that won the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Beginning in Lake Superior in July, the team sailed south through Lake Huron and into Lake Erie, collecting water samples as it traveled for three weeks.