Iowa City’s Grandmothers Host ‘Ban the Bags’ Rally

Iowa City’s Grandmothers Host ‘Ban the Bags’ Rally

IOWA CITY, Iowa, September 7, 2012 (ENS) - President Barack Obama is speaking at a campaign event in Iowa City today, but he will miss an event that's near and dear to the hearts of many grandmothers in the university town.

Kicking off an initiative to encourage Iowa City and Coralville to join other U.S. cities in banning plastic bags, a new environmental organization made of up grandmothers will hold a Ban the Bags Rally Sunday afternoon on the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall.

"As 100Grannies.org is dedicated to a livable future for all grandchildren, September 9 was selected because it is Grandparents' Day," says event organizer Katharine Nicholson.

About 30 local grandmothers have founded 100Grannies.org to promote environmental issues in Iowa City, a city of about 68,000 and the University of Iowa's home town.

People of all ages, especially grandparents and their grandchildren, are invited to join the rally by bringing all their plastic bags to tie into a "humongously long chain to encircle the Ped Mall," said Nicholson. These bags will be recycled after the rally.

The Ped Mall area contains restaurants, bars, retail, hotels, and the Iowa City Public Library. It is known for its appeal to local artists and musicians, an atmosphere the grannies will take advantage of to advance their cause.

Music, refreshments and entertainment will all be part of the rally, and Nicholson says reusable bags generously donated by local merchants will be handed out while they last. Those attending the rally can sign a petition for banning plastic bags in the Iowa City/Coralville area. There will be a membership sign-up table for grandmothers and all other women "of a vintage age who care about the future we'll be leaving to coming generations."

The environmental damage caused by plastic bags is disastrous, the grannies say. These petroleum-based bags end up in landfills, adding toxins to land and water, and oceans, choking sea life, and petroleum extraction contributes to climate change.

They are hoping that the City Council sees the wisdom of their cause. Several of the grannies visited the Iowa City Council meeting on September 4 to present the idea to lawmakers.

Iowa City Public Works Director Rick Fosse told the Iowa City "Press Citizen" newspaper that he is preparing a memo on the feasibility of a plastic bag ban that he intends to submit to the council by next week.

The measure is likely to get favorable consideration as Iowa City prides itself on its environmental consciousness, with recycling and composting programs and a fledgeling program for better handling of food waste.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.

Cover photo: City Hall of Iowa City, Iowa. Attribution: American007 of English Wikipedia. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.