The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

Commentary: Kudos to city for bag ban

Kudos, congrats, and salutations to Solana Beach for being the first city in San Diego County to pass a plastic bag ban ordinance! 

I look forward to other communities following suit. It’s amusing to read the propaganda, misinformation, and outright sarcasm in other papers about this wonderful grass roots success story, as if this long hard fought battle was something silly and frivolous.

If you were there, you know the room was full of educated leaders of this effort: PhDs, the CEO of Surfrider, teachers, parents, students, and common sense community activists for sure. They have battled the status quo for years, challenging their civic leaders and local vendors who have been slow to act, and all the powerful greedy lobbyists. I guess it was also a bogus idea to ban cigarette smoking in public statewide years ago.

Ya think there might be a good reason that these bag bans are happening all over the world?! This “urban tumbleweed” is causing problems everywhere. It is often suggested that we simply enforce litter laws. Locally, or out in the deep ocean Gyre? Please tell me who’s going to do that. Or, let’s just recycle. Right, ship it to China and they sell it back to us in the form of toys, dog food, and cheap clothing. What next? T-shirts made out of cigarette butts and nuclear waste? Pardon me, but this doesn’t make sense. Neither does corn-based plastic.

I spoke to a very nice guy that night, a representative from the restaurant industry who, using his common sense, decided not to speak to the Council. (All 22 speakers were in favor of the initiative.) He asked me about “cross contamination.”

Honestly, unless you’re a complete slob, this is not a concern. I’m just a crazy radical for refusing Styrofoam completely, and if the establishment won’t allow me to bring my own container for “doggy bags” or take out, I will eat elsewhere. Hint: gain market share by offering a discount when a patron brings their own container.

Most of Europe has prohibited use of disposable bags for years. I am trying to teach my favorite fishmonger at Sprouts that all I need is the butcher paper, nothing else. Merchants, we’re on your side, trying to save you money by reducing excess packaging. Hint: portions at restaurants are way too big anyway.

Have you heard about the epidemic of obesity and diabetes? If nothing else, consider that the stats on litter clean-up, run-off and storm drain clogging are costing our state multi-millions annually. Again, as I’ve been saying for years, this is all about money, and habits.

Oh dear, what about Rover’s” poopies”? For the last time, there is NO SUCH THING as reliable biodegradable plastic, from corn or any other substance. It’s called “green-washing” when the dispenser at Del Mar Beach claims to be a biodegradable “poopy” bag. I love dogs, but I question the humanity of anyone who owns a large dog without providing sufficient space for the poor animal to joyfully run & dump on their own property.

“Second use,” you say? That’s a bogus justification for a material lasting 500 years. I don’t care how many times you make use of it, wake up and smell the stink of the petrochemical industry and have your head examined. Fuel is necessary for vehicles, not grocery bags.

Please get educated. Read Captain Moore’s “Plastic Ocean” and a slew of other experts on this subject. Quoting Charlie, the world’s expert on marine plastic pollution, “We’re putting the entire planet on a plastic diet.” I challenge the science, the ethics, and the smarts of anyone still addicted to and advocating for unfettered single-usage of plastic. What on earth are you teaching your children?!

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident