Useless Gestures Dept: Fort McMurray Bans Single Use Bags

That big grey blob at the top? The Alberta tar sands. The little A at the bottom? Fort McMurray, the dormitory suburb of the oil sands, a boom town full of roustabouts and roughnecks driving pickup trucks and SUVs, sometimes known as Fort McMoney.

But from cancer-plagued Fort Chip downstream from the tar sands to Fort McMurray upstream, there is one environmental blight that they won't have to worry about any more, for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has just banned single-use bags, paper or plastic. Except for liquor and fast food, all those oilworkers are going to have to carry reusable ones.

TreeHugger always supports taking small steps, so we congratulate them on this. After all, Mayor Melissa Blake says:


Mayor Blake in Fort MacMurray Today


"We are trying to make a change, we are trying to be a sustainable community."

"We want to be more responsible and sustainable in our practices, whether it's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, water conservation, recycling, all of these things we've done for the same purpose."


Resident Robert Vargo wins the understatement of the year award for telling the Edmonton Journal:
"Fort McMurray isn't usually noticed for its contributions to the environment, Everybody looks at us in Fort Mc-Murray as being dirty oilsands. Well, that's not true.

"This will help a little, that we're as concerned about the environment as anybody else -- probably more, because we live here," Vargo said.

It may be the first of many small steps. As Sean Graham, a high school student who first proposed the idea says,

"It feels fantastic, It feels good to be able to start something and convince an entire city to do a course of action, and I think this is a very simple thing we can do to improve our ecological footprint in this community and I'm hoping they look at this as a starting point and say, 'What can we do next now?'"

Um, we can think of a few things......

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Tags: Alberta | Canada | Tar Sands