Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna calls the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in Revere â€œone of my biggest and proudest accomplishments as a councillor.â€
The City Council passed the ordinance co-sponsored by McKenna and Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino in April, 2019.
â€œItâ€™s been two-and-a-half years,â€ said McKenna proudly. â€œWhen we first started, there were 80 cities and towns on board, and now there are 140 on board banning single-use plastic bags.â€
McKenna said she and Giannino worked on the ordinance for 18 months before putting it before the Council. â€œCouncillors [Patrick] Keefe and [Steven] Morabito also jumped on board with it,â€ recalled McKenna.
McKenna said the ordinance has made â€œa world of differenceâ€ in the cityâ€™s environment.
â€œYou donâ€™t see plastic bags in the trees anymore â€“ you donâ€™t see them along the roadways,â€ noted McKenna. â€œRevere Beach is cleaner. And we did it because Revere is a coastal community and has the first public beach.â€
The diligent councillor known for her consistent, hard-working approach on issues large and small, said it was difficult in the beginning for seniors to join the effort, â€œbecause they thought that they would have to pay for bags and some of the paper bags are cheap and fall apart.â€
â€œBut looking at the big picture, itâ€™s really made a difference; the city is so much cleaner without the plastic bags all over the sidewalks and the streets,â€ said McKenna.
Councilors McKenna and Giannino (who is also a state representative and will be leaving the City Council in January after not seeking re-election) are now targeting another concern in terms of a safer environment for all Revere residents.
â€œOur next venture is going to be Styrofoam, but I really donâ€™t know when thatâ€™s going to come to fruition because she (Giannino) is leaving the Council soon,â€ said McKenna. â€œI think itâ€™s going to be one of our last proposals together â€“ to ban Styrofoam in the city.â€
Councillor Giannino was Instrumental in the Passage of the Plastic Bag Ordinance
Councillor-at-Large Joanne McKenna said that Councillor-at-Large and now-State Rep. Jessica Giannino was on board from the outset as a co-sponsor of the ordinance banning plastic bags in the city.
Giannino said a healthy and safe environment has always been a mutual concern among the two community leaders who served as president and vice president of the City Council during their tenures in office.
â€œCouncilor McKenna and I share many things in common, but the environment is one of the most important,â€ said Giannino. â€œTogether, we worked on this ordinance over several months. We knew that it would be a challenge for the city at the time, but it was a move in the right direction for the bigger picture. It was great to have the support of councilors Parrick Keefe and Steve Morabito. After careful research, Councillor McKenna and I produced an ordinance that would help the coastal community of Revere be a better place. Almost immediately, we saw a reduction in litter of bags in the street, fences, storm drains and trees among other places. Although it was a learning curve, people are now used to bringing their own reusable bags, a much better choice for both the consumer and the environment. Aside from the immediate reduction in litter, the bag has long term impacts including reducing the deadly burden of plastic bags on marine animals (such as whales and sea turtles) and more importantly reducing the toxic fumes released by waste incinerators when plastic is burned. This is so important because the oldest incinerator in the country and only unlined ash land fill is in our backyard.â€