A Verdun, Quebec man has collected more than 600 signatures and is now calling for the borough to ban plastic water bottles.

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A Verdun man is spearheading a movement to have the borough ban plastic water bottles.

Eric Hanson, who’s lived in the borough for 35 years, started a petition in January that has since garnered over 600 signatures. 

The campaign calls for several measures in the borough, including:

  • Banning the sale of all single-use plastic water bottles under one litre,
  • Promotion of reusable containers, and
  • Improvement of access to drinking water

“If we got a Verdun-wide ban, it would help people to buy less plastic water bottles and sensitize them to the issue of plastic pollution,” Hanson said. “Eventually, it could get other municipalities to follow suit and we could actually see some real change start to happen.”

Last year, Montreal implemented a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles at municipal events and buildings.

Hanson doesn’t think that it goes far enough.

“Banning them from municipal buildings doesn’t stop anyone from buying water bottles and, if it does [stop them], we’re talking about a few thousand people and a few thousand bottles a year,” he said. 

Hanson’s petition caught the attention of borough politicians. 

“I was happy to see more and more people getting involved with environmental causes,” said Marie-Andree Mauger, a city councillor for Verdun and is responsible for the environment under mayor Valerie Plante. “We need as many advocates for the environment as possible.”

While Mauger applauds the initiative, she feels that implementing a borough-wide ban would present major challenges.

It could also open the door to banning other types of containers, which would require more work for the borough. 

“It’s a little bit complicated,” she said. “It’s grocery stores and convenience stores. We’re also thinking about sugary beverages like pop and juice.”

Last year, Verdun banned single-use plastic containers on Wellington St and a section of De L’Eglise Ave. 

Older restaurants and cafes are exempt from the rule, but new ones must abide. 

They’re not allowed to serve dine-in customers with disposable cutlery, cups, and plates, but can offer them to people ordering takeout. 

“If you go inside a restaurant [in that area], it is not allowed to use a single-use container,” she said. “We focused on the main commercial section of the borough but eventually, we could expand it to the whole territory.”

Some cafes on Wellington St. have been proactive in their approach. 

Vincent Dessureault is a co-owner of Cafe 5e in Verdun.

The cafe banned plastic bottles when it opened in 2017.

“It was a challenge for us, to prove that we could run a business without having any disposable cups and bottles around,” he said. 

People have noticed the cafe’s efforts.

“People are coming here and asking for help on how they can improve their own businesses to become zero-waste,” he said. 

Hanson has a few suggestions for people who might still be clinging on to their disposable cups and bottles.

“In Verdun, the quality of water is actually really high,” he said. “People can go out and get themselves a reusable metal or plastic or glass water bottle and fill it up at home or at one of the storefronts on Wellington St.”

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