CONWAY — Sen. Adam G. Hinds was visibly shocked and appalled Monday when he was informed the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the planet’s oceans each minute, totaling 1,440 garbage trucks of plastic every day.
He seemed equally taken aback when he learned 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950, when Harry S. Truman was president, and 12 billion metric tons of the material is expected to be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050 if current trends continue.
But the state senator representing 52 communities in the Berkshire/Hampshire/Franklin District wasn’t hearing from a lobbyist or legislative aide. Hinds was enthralled by research detailed by Urijah Jennes and Will Dacus —two students at Conway Grammar School.
The Pittsfield Democrat stopped by to speak with Maggie West’s fifth-graders, who took it upon themselves to lead a campaign to transition away from plastic straws on school grounds. The youngsters sat with Hinds in an oval and read him prepared information. They asked some questions about his personal history and how to help the environment.
“I think we’re all conscious that this generation is much more dialed in on the environment, on personal choices and their impact on the planet, and this is another example that they’re translating that into their own activism,” Hinds said in the hallway after leaving West’s classroom. “We’ve seen this, really, all year, honestly — just that there’s a desire to be involved, and this is the latest example.”