The City of Solana Beach has many reasons to be proud: the Cedros Design District, the world-class transportation corridor below street level (a Kiewit project), which is the envy of many neighboring communities, great restaurants, improvements to roadways and superior shopping, the Gateway property saved from development, and, not least of all, the plastic bag ban!
Frequent and numerous beach clean-ups have done enormous good in raising awareness of the undeniable epidemic of plastic pollution, but they can only do so much. Reminds me of the battle against cigarette smoking fought long and hard not so long ago. Separate sections in restaurants! Would anyone be so foolish as to argue that leading the country in banning public smoking was a mistake?! The analogy to plastic pollution is perfect.
The ban in place is a common sense grassroots effort and necessary next step. California tends to lead the way in such controversial issues where a powerful lobby doesn’t want to listen to the will of the people. Solana Beach has joined some 75 cities state-wide advancing plastic bag bans. I predict the next time around Sacra-Demento will follow suit.
I sympathize with those who find it a hard habit to break and who struggle with any inconvenience. Relying on paper is not the object. No one is forced to purchase paper bags. Reusables are plentiful and we all have them. The merchants are saving money, the customer is doing a good thing for the earth and for their children, and the blight is being reduced. Objections about death by germs in a plastic bag are misleading propaganda spread by those who want to protect their profits. And, why would anyone spend extra time and money to drive to a neighboring community to shop when all they have to do is pack a few reusables?!
The more informed we are, the easier this will be. I have been writing editorials on this subject since 1998, and I work with the scientist famous for bringing this global epidemic to the attention of the public — Captain Charles Moore. Please read his award-winning book “Plastic Ocean” and see him featured in Jeremy Irons’ new documentary film “Trashed.”
If your community hasn’t scheduled a screening, make a request at the next City Council meeting or call your favorite council person.
I am a member of the Algalita Marine Research Institute Board of Directors, but I am speaking as a resident of Encinitas as I write to you today. My fervent hope is that my community will finally step up and follow the lead of Solana Beach. I have been plastic-free (or darn near) for more than 10 years in my home, garden, and overall consumption habits. No inconvenience or negative consequences.
“We will never recycle our way out of this mess,” Captain Moore.