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Baltimore City Communities Show Support For Reusable Bag Bill

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Plastic bags in Baltimore City could soon be history. Saturday, communities united to show support for a reusable bag bill.

Tracey Leong has the story on the citywide cleanup effort.

Trash floating in the Inner Harbor and scattered throughout Baltimore has people pitching in to clean up.

"Whenever you walk around Baltimore, you see bags in trees, you see them clogging storm drains. They're just sort of prolific, and they don't have to be," said Blue Water Baltimore Director Halle Vandergaag.

Vandergaag--along with dozens of volunteers--picking up trash to show support for a reusable bag bill that was introduced by Councilman Jim Kraft.

"Baltimore has been so far ahead of the curve on so many environmental issues. And it's because of our proximity to the water," Kraft said. "And this is one where we have dragged our feet. The mayor has made it very clear that she will sign this bill."

The bill would place a five cent fee on all disposable plastic bags, encouraging the switch to reusable bags.

Each year, you spend about $38 in hidden fees for using plastic bags. By ditching them and switching over to reusable bags, you're not only saving money--you're also saving the environment.

Baltimore City spends $10 million a year to clean up litter in neighborhoods and parks. The money collected from this plastic bag fee will go towards the cleanup effort.

"Trash in your neighborhood really brings down your own quality of life," said Trash Free Maryland Director Julie Lawson. "It can lead to crime and to neglect and blight."

Beautifying the city--an idea Baltimoreans love to hear.

"Whatever we are willing to do to improve the trash, as far as keeping it out. If plastic bags got to go, they got to go," said Baltimore resident Sophia Anderson. "I'll work with them."

The Baltimore City bag ban will be voted on this fall.

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