5th-grade activist addresses Salt Lake City Council, calls for ban on plastic bags in retail stores

SALT LAKE COUNTY -- A Salt Lake City 5th grader is continuing his pursuit to ban plastic bags at retail stores across the city.

"Plastic bags are very dangerous, animals end up eating them and dying," said 10-year-old Liam LaMalfa as he stood before the Salt Lake City Council Tuesday.

He said he was nervous but also determined to tell the city council about the environmental dangers of plastic bags.

"And here are the signatures of over 300 people who agree with me," said Liam, as he handed over a petition asking the council to ban plastic bags at retail stores throughout the city.

Some of his classmates at Uintah Elementary School, as well as family members, stood behind him in support.

"I kept having to tell myself, 'These people are with you, these people are with you,'" Liam said.

Liam is related to City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall. She said the plastic bag ban is something the city has already began researching, but Liam may have given it renewed energy.

"It is something the council could do, we wouldn't just automatically vote on it, we would go through a robust public process and we would probably hear a lot from business owners and others," Mendenhall said.

Liam said the presentation is only the beginning. He plans to remain a major advocate when it comes to the ban.

"If they don't vote on it for a while, I'm going to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger: 'I'll be back,'" he said.

The city council has not offered a timetable as to when they may bring this item up for an official discussion. Tuesday's presentation by LaMalfa came during public comment, it was not on the agenda.