Legislative Priorities in 2018 for Blue Water Baltimore
The Maryland General Assembly convenes January 10, and this session Blue Water Baltimore will be in Annapolis, working with partners, legislators, and constituents like you on two laws to protect communities and our waterways. We will focus on phasing out expanded polystyrene food packaging and strengthening the forest conservation act to protect and grow our existing tree canopy.
So Long, Polluting Foam!
Baltimore City Delegate Brooke Lierman will introduce a bill to phase out the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS), in to-go packaging across the state of Maryland. EPS is impossible to fully dispose of, even after it is thrown away. It does not decompose, but rather breaks down into tiny particles that gather in streets, green spaces, and waterways. Once in the water, the petroleum-based product will absorb 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals than other kinds of plastic. This increases toxin exposure to fish and other aquatic wildlife, potentially making its way into the food chain and into our bodies.
Expanded polystyrene also creates a lot of waste. It is the second most collected type of trash collected by Mr. Trash Wheel & Professor Trash Wheel in Baltimore. Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel have collected more than 700,000 polystyrene containers, more than the number of plastic bags and plastic bottles, and second only to cigarette butts.
In addition to reducing waste, and improving the health of our waterways, eliminating EPS in the form of cups, plates, bowls, trays, and clamshells, should not be a burden on local food service organizations and retailers. Businesses in other areas of Maryland have already made the switch to more sustainable materials, and found that there were other options available at little to no additional cost. Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, as well as Washington, D.C. have all successfully eliminated expanded polystyrene, and consistent legislation across the state would level the playing field for businesses throughout Maryland.
What can you do to help? Write to your representative now and ask them to get the foam out of Maryland!
Let’s Keep Our Trees, Please!
Forests once grew on more than 95% of the Maryland’s landscape, but now only cover 39%. Trees and forests are the best way to use land to protect water quality, and it directly impacts air quality, and provides opportunities for recreation, shade, and beauty.
Maryland’s forests and trees are being lost quicker than they are being replaced. There is a policy of “no net loss of forests” but there is currently no way to implement that policy. This year in legislative session, we support a proposal to increase the replanting ratio in the Forest Conservation Act, and reduce exemptions in order to keep the benefits of trees for our communities.
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