TOWNSEND — Of the many legal actions voted on by residents during the over five-hour town meeting, a surprising one came in the final minutes.

Effective August 1, Townsend will ban thin-film single-use plastic bags from being sold or distributed at any retail or grocery store in town. Those types of bags will still be allowed to be used to hold dry cleaning, newspapers, produce, meat and bulk food. The ban is meant to lessen the bags’ negative impact on the environment

The main issue cited with thin-film plastic bags is how they aren’t biodegradable yet frequently disposed of. Bags can be found in the ocean with fishes getting tangled in them or even choking on them. The bags can also clog storm drains and require barrels of crude oil to be made.