Bottled-Water Ban Next for Arlington?

Three Arlington High seniors have gotten a bottled-water ban on this spring’s Special Town Meeting warrant.

Last spring, Town Meeting members put a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in Arlington. This spring, they’ll get a chance to ban the sale of bottled water in town.

Three Arlington High seniors, Amy Currul, Sonia Zacher and Marina Milan, collected enough signatures to place the proposed ban on this spring’s Special Town Meeting warrant.

“[We] decided to pursue this because of our passion for environmental causes,” Currul wrote in a Tuesday email, “and because we feel water bottles have a hugely negative environmental impact and are something people can very easily remove from their life.”


Should Town Meeting ban the sale of bottled water in Arlington? Let us know by posting a comment below.


The three teenagers are members of the high school’s Students Against Violating the Environment (SAVE) club. Currul’s the club president. Her name appears with the article (below) because she was the only one of the three who was 18 when their petition was submitted (Zacher has since turned 18).

Currul wrote that Zacher was the one who brought the idea forward after being inspired by the same ban in Concord last spring, which was the first of its kind. The three then ran with it and got help from their other club members, who assisted in collecting the 108 signatures, eight more than were required.

The article’s wording specifically bans “the sale of non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less [in Arlington] except in the event of an emergency.”

It will go before the Board of Selectmen on Monday, March 18, before heading to the Special Town Meeting on Wednesday, April 24. A lessening of the town’s seasonal leaf-blower ban will also be acted on at the Special Town Meeting, which falls in the middle of this spring's regular Town Meeting.

The leaf-blower ban was upheld at a Special Election in July and Special Town Meeting in October after it was passed last spring in a 95-85 vote.

Currul wrote that they submitted their petition for the Special Town Meeting because they missed the regular Town Meeting deadline. It takes 100 signatures to get an article on a Special Town Meeting warrant, and only 10 to get one on the Town Meeting warrant.

Currul has a lengthy resume for someone her age. In addition to her role with SAVE, she is the editor of the high school’s student newspaper, the Ponder Report, publicity chair of the town’s Relay for Life committee and an active volunteer at the town’s cable-access station, ACMI. She also interned for state Rep. Sean Garballey last summer and worked on his most recent campaign, and she plays the trombone in the school band.

Currul, who plans to study English/journalism in college, wrote that she does not believe their ages will be an issue in the debate.

“I have been underestimated before because of my age,” she wrote, “be it at the state house, ACMI or what have you. But the three of us are confident in our cause and in our arguments for the ban, so I don’t think it will be a problem.”

Arlington has a recent history of young activists. In 2010, Sean Harrington, now a Precinct 15 Town Meeting member, fought to get the pledge of allegiance back in Arlington’s schools at age 17.

Currul wrote that they fully expect a backlash from some residents, especially business owners. “We know not everyone will be in favor of what we are doing,” she wrote, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, and we are ready to have a conversation with them, about our point of view and why we are trying to pass such a ban.”

As for her own habits, Currul wrote that they would not be affected by the ban.

“I personally have never been a big water bottle drinker,” she wrote. “We have so many reusable water bottles around my house that I never felt it necessary to buy a single serving one.”


Article 4, Bylaw Amendment, Sale of Drinking Water in Single-Serve PET Bottles

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws to prohibit the sale of non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Arlington except in the event of an emergency; or take any action related thereto.

(Inserted at the request of Amy Currul and one hundred registered voters)

inthegloaming February 15, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Yep. Your kind is dying out like the dinosaurs. Adapt and evolve, or Here's Your Darwin Award. The Moonbats have triumphed! :-)
inthegloaming February 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
I'm wishing for a "LIKE!" button to click here.
inthegloaming February 15, 2013 at 08:00 PM
oh, pulleeze! What if Zombies started rampaging through Town Center?!?!?! What if the sky fell!?!?!? Then X and Y and Z WILL HAPPEN and OMG OMG OMG . . . .so let's not do something sensible for the usual way of life, on the microscopic chance that an asteroid will hit the High School. In case you don't get the sarcasm: making decisions about what to do based on the least likely scenario is nonsensical, impractical, misguided. . . and a whole bunch of other less polite words.
inthegloaming February 15, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Smerls: maybe Banks doesn't get what you're saying because you're not explaining it succinctly and simply enough? And for whether s/he's in Arlington of Belmont: doesn't matter, imo. Plastic bottle waste pollution doesn't stop at the town line: it's state-wide/country-wide/world-wide issue, and it gets corrected town by town by town by town by town. Starting with individuals who are willing to cooperate for the greater good, rather than ranting about how the government is telling them what to do and they're going to have a toddler tantrum and yell "NO! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" despite the harm they are doing. Because they're sooo special. The egos. My god!
inthegloaming February 15, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Thank you. I've been shocked at the vitriol coming from alleged adults on this matter. The teens are truly more mature.
Wind Dummy 25 February 15, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I wish we could apply that logic to our elected Reps Tricia...I've known these Reps for longer than I care to and they always disappoint, they still fail to amaze me... I admire the girls activism but I don't care for bans... Raising the awareness is good. "Bring a sippy cup"... Will be my new bumpah stickahh
smerls February 15, 2013 at 08:37 PM
@inthegloaming...that may be true...although I don't know what I am not being clear on when I say the ban is not going to solve the actual problem... and then I get the same response about bottle vs tap water etc..which has little to do with the actual ban..again maybe I was not clear but I think most people can figure it out. For the water bottle issue not stopping at the town line...that was one of my points and this ban is going to solve anything on its own... As for talking about people and their egos be careful...with your rants and winning you are close to doing what you are accusing others of doing!!
Donald Mei February 15, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Jan - Step out of 1987. Bottles don't end up in landfills because curbside recycling has made it easy to recycle. Send me your fax number and I'll send you a reminder in a few days.
Donald Mei February 15, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Donna - Perhaps these kids should spend some time thinking about what the proper role of of Government is in a "free" society. If they wanted to increase awareness about the evils of bottled water, I think we're all good with that. If they wanted to encourage people to use reusable bottles, I think we're all good with that. But thats not the case. They are advocating another ridiculous intrusion of Government into our lives. The frightening thing is that these kids probably have never thought in the abstract about what Government's role is. Seriously.
Donald Mei February 15, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Janette - I'm happy for you that you are all warm and fuzzy and green. But are you a parent? We do our best to pack food and water when we go out for the day. Not because I care one nit about a plastic bottle going into the recycle bin, but because I am cheap. So I start my day with food and water for the kids. Sometimes I plan poorly and stop to pick up water. Is that evil? Is that any worse than buying a coke. Maybe thats the lesson here. Better to feed my children Mountain Dew if I plan poorly than to let me buy water out of a plastic bottle. Again, I understand yours and these little innocent children's desire to save the planet. You REALLY ARE better off just bringing tap water along. But sometimes people make mistakes. It IS APPROPRIATE for these teens to try to educate people and sway public opinion such that more people use tap water in reusable containers. That would be a great project. It is terribly disturbing that nobody seems to think this is simply an inappropriate place for Government to be.
Donald Mei February 15, 2013 at 09:24 PM
So?? I have a right to harm the environment? So do you. What do you think your ski weekend does? What do you thinkyour trip to Europe does? What do you think your shiny new plug in Prius does, when that old Civic ran just fine? All these things harm the environment. Its the American way.
P February 16, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Really. You all need to calm down and focus more on your own personal lives. Don't drink from a bottle yourself. I live in arlington and its the worse place in the world. People are all natural tree hugers and I am not surprised about this. First a gas ban now this. What's next, are you going to ban people from using wrappers for food and everyone has to eat with their hands and feet. Everyone knows this is a really dumb idea but knowing arlington everyone is going to vote yes for it so. We should really focus on under aged drinking and drugs then a bottle.
P February 16, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Arlington is also really cheap that they probably want people to drink tap water so they will make some money and businesses will lose their money.
MountainView February 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM
My guess is that these kids are well- informed about this issue. And having a thoroughly informed opinion--as opposed to a merely reflexive and uninformed one--is advisable, in general.
smerls February 16, 2013 at 01:35 PM
@michelle you are saying others are uniformed and yet you are just guessing these girls are well informed?? It is one thing to know about statistics on plastics and bottled water as I am sure these girls do, it is quite another to know what to do about it. Proposing this ban is miguided and If you informed yourself on the issue maybe you realize that.
Drew February 16, 2013 at 01:50 PM
See???? Now all of you have accomplished what these girls only wanted in the first place--to cause a stir and be noticed for once in their boring lives. I still maintain that they couldn't care less about water bottles and I don't HAVE to know them to know that. At 17 or however old they are, they should be concentrating on more crucial issues---or campaigning against the rampant drug problem in their wonderful public school instead of water.
Wind Dummy 25 February 16, 2013 at 02:08 PM
The profit on bottle of water is still strong, but under attack. This is interesting and telling information...It's wise to peak at both sides of issues especially when the word BAN is thrown around. Bottled water containers are a tiny fraction of the solid waste stream. Many people have turned to bottled water to replace other portable drinks containing sugar and calories, producing little increase in total waste. In any case, single-serving plastic water bottles amount to just 0.3 percent of the nation’s solid waste. Bottles used in water coolers are recycled at high rates and have even less impact on landfill waste. Taxing and banning either type of container will not matter much in terms of overall waste. Misinformation spread by activists should not determine who can access this product. People who do not like the product can make their own choices. They should not have any right to make them for the rest of us. http://cei.org/sites/default/files/Angela%20Logomasini%20-%20Bottled%20Water%20and%20the%20Overflowing%20Nanny%20State.pdf
Mike February 17, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Arlington High Kool-Aid, apparently.
Drew February 17, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Mike February 17, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Caroline: "Do you know these girls? Have you met them? These girls are among the most educated, most passionate at the high school! The world needs people like them, who have compassion and a strong will to make changes in our world!" Stupid is, as stupid does. One need not know the author of an idea to know it is misguided foolishness. \Your reference to “among the most passionate” as if that has anything to do with an idea being good, or merely stupid, is a big part of the problem.
inthegloaming February 17, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Well, Mike, at least they're "passionate" about something useful in the world (whether you agree it's useful to actually DO something about the sad state of the environment or not) as opposed to just dissing people anonymously online from an armchair. (Yeh, I'm anonymous too, because I don't trust y'all out there not to be sociopaths who'd actually try to come and TP my property, at best, extreme vandalism at worst. Sad, isn't it?)
inthegloaming February 17, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Anyway, GIRLS, if you're reading any of this: STAY STRONG! FIGHT FOR Your BELIEFS. Don't let the Massholes discourage your resolve to Make A Difference For Good. Keep trying, even when it doesn't work. But don't waste too much time trying to be Jerk Whisperers. You can't change closed minds with facts, or passion. All we can hope is that those kind will dwindle in numbers as more and more intelligent people refuse to procreate with them. Here's Your Darwin Award, Closed Minds.
inthegloaming February 17, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Dave, Dave: we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. Stop presuming by projecting that their lives are as boring as yours is/your 17 year old self's was (is). They don't have to ignore the water issue because there are other bigger issues liek drugs. And what's YOUR plan for campaigning against the rampant drug problem? I bet they already are: by saying NO to using drugs. THAT'S how you solve the drug problem. Less users/less buyers/less need for supply. Darwinism at work.
inthegloaming February 17, 2013 at 08:49 PM
P, sorry you hate this "worst place" in the ENTIRE WORLD. lol. You haven't gone far, and you don't read much/pay attention to media. You could move. You'd be happier. So would Arlington. Listen, everyone, these "slippery slope" arguments -- "What's Next? I'll have to eat with my feet?!?" -- just makes you look silly. (As for wrappers: they should be more recyclable. The real problem is getting people to actually dump them in the receptacles.)
Mike February 17, 2013 at 09:36 PM
But, if they worked on something that really matters, and which is actually a part of their daily lives, their schoolmates might not like them. Heaven forbid they took on something their peers might not approve! Yet when they play at this silly game over water bottles and wasting the time at Town hall, they are "so passionate and so brave." Sheesh ... I think this is why LOL was invented.
smerls February 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM
@Banks..so what is the real number..i bet you didn't even read the article..typical leftist nonsenense...when you have nothing does the author..
smerls February 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM
@inthegloaming...that is the problem this is going to nothing to help the environment and what we are suppose to support this just because these passionate?? Come on that is nonsense..this is misguided and there is nothing wrong with pointing that out!!
Wind Dummy 25 February 18, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Every generation, of Americans anyway, is tasked on improving the previous. Without looking back with the stink eye... Improving inventing anything in America is complicated nowadays. Many things have to meld like never before. Business is the key of course. Distribution & collection of anything we can't do without. It's just they way we're wired. Americans have been much better about distribution & environment because some made it ($$) an issue in my generation. This generation has a shot to it do better. There suppose to. Both these issues will be on this generation to improve both. Maybe they'll do it, maybe they'll just take the "A" and move on. Maybe it will be to complicated? To much effort not enough $$'s? I'm betting some will be inspired enough to make enough money with a better mouse trap. It's a big enough issue. Which is good for all short term as well as the long run. Banning taxing regulating will destroy any significant efforts. And that's what's wrong with current situations.
x February 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM
This is a noble pursuit by these three young high school seniors. It should prepare each of them for a productive career as community orgranizer. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Kerrianne February 25, 2013 at 01:13 AM
I find it a bit ironic that you are criticizing poster's for bashing a high school student, when you just referred to all children who attend private school as scum. Bit hypocritical, no? In addition to that sentiment, I think it would be best to not use over arching generalizations to stereotype a segment of the population that attends private school. Thank you.


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